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US election panel outlines limit on ex-hostages' fees

The Federal Election Commission ruled that there is a legal limit on how much the released American hostages can be paid for speeches and articles about their captivity in Iran. But it said payments to them for speeches and articles could be spread over several years -- allowing payments in excess of the $25,000 a year permitted by federal law.

The commission became involved because election law reforms passed after Watergate limit how much federal employees can receive for speeches and articles. It said the limits in the law apply to the hostages because they are appointed federal emplo yees.

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