Election-cash spigots running at full blast

Fundraising tally nears $1.2 billion

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Last week, an anti-abortion group aired among the first ads to specifically call for the defeat of candidates. The radio ads were broadcast in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania and targeted three Democratic House incumbents.

The Federal Election Commission has yet to write rules on how to apply the Supreme Court’s ruling. Democrats in Congress have tried to pass legislation that would require groups that run ads to reveal their donors. The legislation has stalled in the Senate, but strategists in both parties and campaign-finance lawyers say the effort may have given some potential corporate donors second thoughts.

Still, Larry Noble, former general counsel at the FEC and a lawyer at Skadden Arps, said more corporations are seeking advice on how and when to donate.

“My guess is, we’re going to see more corporate money spent on elections,” he said. “If it’s successful, and you don’t see a lot of real pushback, then in 2012, you’ll see even more of it. So this is a test election.”

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