The Democratic Party yesterday lost an attempt to get a court-ordered ruling on a complaint charging that Republican expenditures of $6 million for television ads violate federal spending limits.
U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Gasch denied a request by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to force the Federal Election Commission to rule before Tuesday's elections whether the advertising breaks the law.
"Since the Republicans have already given the maximum to their targeted candidates, they are exceeding the legal limit of about $50,800 for party contributions by spending millions on these illegal TV spots," Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), chairman of the Democratic committee, said.
He said the ruling will be appealed.
The ads, which are financed by the National Republican Congressional Committee, are part of a GOP drive to increase support for House and Senate candidates.
Gasch noted during a hearing yesterday that the law governing FEC complaints gives the GOP 15 days to respond to allegations, and that commission rulings take additional time. The Democrats filed their complaint Oct. 22.
Although the ads do not tell viewers to vote for specific candidates, Coelho contends that the GOP is helping certain candidates by targeting the commercials to run more extensively in areas with close congressional races.
Steve Lotterer of the Republican committee said "we are putting everything we can into this because we've never had it so good. We are putting in 101 percent."