updated 3/26/2010 12:35:21 PM ET 2010-03-26T16:35:21

The Republican National Committee has lost its bid to raise soft money, the unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals banned by a 2002 campaign finance law.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Washington ruled Friday that it lacks the authority to overturn a Supreme Court ruling upholding the ban on soft money fundraising by the RNC and other national party committees.

That ban is a cornerstone of the so-called McCain-Feingold law — and one of the few major parts of the law to survive court challenges.

The RNC had argued that it should be able to raise soft money for state election, congressional redistricting, legal costs and other activities that it said had nothing to do with federal elections.

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