The Federal Election Commission quietly issued an advisory opinion last week allowing candidates to raise unlimited money for issue-advocacy groups working on ballot measures in elections in which those candidates are on the ballot.

The opinion, issued in response to a request from a Nevada-based abortion rights group, could significantly alter the landscape in the fall in terms of the capacity that candidates aligned with these groups have to help them raise money.

The decision applies to all federal candidates, but with a presidential election taking place in six months, the biggest attention will fall to that race. If Mr. Biden can solicit money for abortion-rights ballot measures, he can add to an already-existing fund-raising advantage that his team currently has over Mr. Trump.

The decision, released publicly last week but little noticed, could affect turnout in battleground states like Nevada where razor-thin margins will determine the election. In Arizona, an abortion rights group said it had the number of signatures required to put a referendum on the ballot. Florida — a state that has voted reliably for Republicans in recent presidential races — has a similar measure on the ballot.

The advisory opinion means that both Mr. Biden and former President Donald J. Trump can raise money for outside groups pushing ballot measures. In the wake of the repeal of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, abortion ballot measures are expected to be a key focus for Democrats this fall.

“I think it’s quite significant,” said Adav Noti, of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, calling it an enormous change from prohibitions put in place by the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill in 2002.


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