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Public funding and vice presidential candidates

If a presidential candidate accepts public funding, special rules apply to the candidate’s vice presidential running mate. The two candidates' committees are usually considered affiliated for purposes of contribution and expenditure limits.

Primary election campaign of party nominee

Special rules apply to situations where a vice presidential committee is formed before the nomination of a party’s candidate for president. Contributions to, and expenditures by, vice presidential committees must be aggregated with contributions to, and expenditures by, the primary campaign of that party’s eventual presidential nominee, for purposes of the contribution and, if the nominee accepted public funding, expenditure limitations.

The aggregation of the contribution and expenditure limits applies to contributions received and expenditures made on or after the date that either the future presidential or vice presidential nominee publicly indicates that the two candidates intend to run on the same ticket. Alternatively, aggregation applies to contributions received and expenditures made on or after the date when the vice presidential candidate accepts an offer to be the running mate, or on or after the date when the committees of these two candidates become affiliated.

There are three types of expenditures which are exempted from being aggregated for expenditure limits:

  • The costs of a vice presidential candidate and the candidate’s family and staff attending the party’s nominating convention, including their transportation, lodging and subsistence;
  • The costs of legal and accounting services associated with background checks during the vice presidential selection process; and
  • The costs of raising funds for these two activities.

General election campaign of party nominee

If a party has nominated a presidential and vice presidential candidate, they will share an authorized committee. To be eligible to receive a public funding grant for the general election, the candidates must agree to limit spending to the amount of the grant and may not accept private contributions for the campaign.

In addition, publicly funded presidential candidates may spend up to $50,000 from their own personal funds. Such spending does not count against the expenditure limit. Expenditures from personal funds made by a candidate for Vice President shall be considered to be expenditures by the candidate for President for purposes of the limitation.