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Obama to announce plan to boost energy efficiency

Enlisting former President Bill Clinton as a partner, President Obama is announcing a $4 billion effort to increase the energy efficiency of government and private-sector buildings, aiming for fuel savings and job creation.

The proposal, to be announced by Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton on Friday, would upgrade buildings during the next two years with a goal of improving energy performance by 20 percent by 2020. The federal government would commit $2 billion to the effort and a coalition of corporations, labor unions, universities and local governments would undertake the other half.

The contractors who undertake the work would be paid with realized energy savings, thus requiring no upfront federal expenditure.

“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution and create good jobs right now,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.

FEC

Panel affirms limits on campaign spending

The Federal Election Commission has ruled unanimously that Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, could not raise unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.

Mr. Lee heads the Constitutional Conservatives Fund political action committee. It asked the FEC whether it could receive limitless amounts of cash from corporations and labor unions, effectively making it the first so-called “super-PAC” run by an elected official.

The FEC said Thursday in its 6-0 decision that leadership PACs, which help other members of Congress get elected, are controlled directly by a candidate for federal office and are bound by contribution limits. The decision comes nearly two years after the Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed independent groups to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, so long as the groups don’t coordinate with candidates.

From wire dispatches and staff reports