For Immediate Release Contact: Bob Biersack
August 28, 2007 George Smaragdis
McCain First Presidential Candidate Declared Eligible for Primary Matching Funds in 2008 Race
WASHINGTON – John McCain today became the first 2008 presidential candidate to be declared eligible by the Federal Election Commission (FEC/Commission) to receive federal matching funds. McCain is seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2008.
To become eligible for matching funds, candidates must raise a threshold amount of $100,000 by collecting $5,000 in 20 different states in amounts no greater than $250 from any individual. Other requirements to be declared eligible include agreeing to an overall spending limit, abiding by spending limits in each state, using public funds only for legitimate campaign-related expenses, keeping financial records and permitting an extensive campaign audit.
Based on documents filed by the McCain campaign on August 10, 2007, contributions from the following states were verified for threshold purposes: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. All of the materials included with this submission may be viewed here.
Once declared eligible, campaigns may submit additional contributions for matching funds on the first business day of every month. The U.S. Treasury Department may pay the FEC-certified amounts beginning in January 2008. The maximum amount a candidate could receive is currently estimated to be about $21 million.
The Presidential public funding program is financed through the $3 check-off that appears on individual income tax returns. The program has three elements: grants to parties to help fund their nominating conventions, grants available to nominees to pay for the general election campaign, and matching payments to participating candidates during the primary campaign.
In June of this year the Commission certified $16,356,000 each to the Democratic and Republican parties for their conventions. The Commission estimates that each general election nominee will be eligible for a grant of approximately $85 million.
Treasury Department regulations require that funds for the convention and general election grants be set aside before any matching fund payments are made. Information provided by the Treasury Department shows the balance in the fund as of July 31, 2007 was $162,941,492 and the Commission has estimated that no funds will be available for matching payments in January 2008. As deposits are made from tax returns in the early months of 2008, matching fund payments will be made from those deposits until all certified amounts have been paid. Based on historical patterns, the FEC estimates that candidates will have received all the funds to which they are entitled by March 2008.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
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