A federal ban on "soft money" campaign donations to political parties can remain in place, a special federal court panel ruled Friday.
The decision preserves a key provision of the McCain-Feingold campaign reform act, which limits contributions to national, state, and local political parties. The case is likely to reach the Supreme Court in coming months.
In a separate and equally important court ruling, the federal government is still prevented from limiting donations to independent political groups.
These are the first two court rulings on campaign spending since a landmark Supreme Court decision on corporate campaign spending in January.