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Originally published January 31, 2010 at 8:40 PM | Page modified February 1, 2010 at 8:58 AM

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GOP Sen.-elect Scott Brown pro-choice on abortion

Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts said Sunday he opposes federal funding for abortions, but thinks women should have the right to choose whether to have one.

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts said Sunday he opposes federal funding for abortions, but thinks women should have the right to choose whether to have one.

Brown told ABC's "This Week" that he disagrees with his party's position that the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion should be overturned.

Brown says the abortion question is one that's best handled by a woman, her family and her doctor.

Asked if his position puts him out of step with the Republican Party, Brown said, "Well, I've always been a big-tent person, you know? We need more people to come into our tent to express their views in a respectful and thoughtful manner."

Brown won the Senate seat long held by liberal Democrat Edward Kennedy, who died last summer. His Jan. 19 victory gave his party 41 of the Senate's 100 seats, enough to block votes.

The Republican National Committee on Friday passed a resolution urging leaders to determine if candidates adhere "wholeheartedly" to the party platform before backing them. But a stricter proposal would have required those seeking support to agree to at least eight of 10 positions on issues including abortion, gay marriage and gun control.

Democrats have

$37.9M in bank

Democratic Party committees entered an off-year election with more money in the bank than their Republican counterparts for the first time in at least 18 years, giving the party a financial boost as it tries to stave off a surge by the opposition.

The Democratic National Committee and the fundraising arms of House and Senate Democrats reported $37.9 million in the bank as of Dec. 31, almost double the Republicans' $19.4 million, Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show.

The Democrats have never had more money than Republicans to spend at the beginning of an off-year election, according to FEC records that date to 1991, the first year the parties had to report unregulated corporate, union and individual donations. Such "soft money" donations were banned after the 2002 elections.

"The Republican National Committee spent $98 million last year as it helped fund winning candidates in the New Jersey and Virginia governors' races.

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Banks cut down

on political giving

Nine of the 10 biggest U.S. banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, reduced their political giving last year, Federal Election Commission reports show.

The banks, which received U.S. taxpayer help under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, cut political-action-committee contributions to $2 million in 2009, a 41 percent decline from the $3.4 million they gave in 2007.

"We were very sensitive to the fact that we were receiving taxpayer money," said Shirley Norton, a spokeswoman for Bank of America.

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