A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit made the ruling in a lawsuit brought by Emily's List, which backs women Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. The group had challenged the regulations, which went into effect in 2005, as being an unconstitutional infringement on its free speech rights.
The regulations were enacted by the Federal Election Commission in response to concerns about the flow of "soft money," which are unlimited donations by individuals, corporations, political action committees and unions, to nonprofit groups. The groups were using such money to pound political candidates during the 2004 campaigns.