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  • FEC Record: Public funding

Commission certifies primary matching fund payments

August 1, 2008

On July 15, 2008, the Commission certified $7,441,898.38 in federal matching funds to six Presidential candidates for the 2008 election.(1) This brings the total matching fund certifications for the 2008 campaign thus far to $26,729,403.03. The Commission also determined that the independent campaign of Ralph Nader is eligible to receive matching funds.

Under the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act, the federal government will match up to $250 of an individual's total contributions to an eligible Presidential primary candidate. A candidate must establish eligibility to receive matching payments by raising in excess of $5,000 in each of at least 20 states (i.e. over $100,000). Although an individual may contribute up to $2,300 to a primary candidate, only a maximum of $250 per individual applies toward the $5,000 threshold in each state. Candidates who receive matching payments must agree to limit their spending and submit to an audit by the Commission. 26 U.S.C. §§9033(a) and (b); 11 CFR 9033.1 and 9033.3.

These totals, shown in the chart below, reflect matching funds for contributions submitted by qualified candidates from January through June. The Commission certifies payments to the Secretary of the Treasury and then funds are disbursed. Although the Treasury had matching funds available for payments during the latter part of that period (See February 2008 for more details), the Commission had been unable to make certifications until recently when its quorum was restored. With a full complement of six members now serving, the Commission unanimously approved the certifications. Additional contributions may be submitted for certification depending on the specific financial circumstances for each eligible campaign.

The Presidential public funding program is financed through the $3 checkoff that appears on individual income tax returns. The program has three elements: grants to parties to help fund their nominating conventions ($16,820,000 to each major party), grants available to nominees to pay for the general election campaign ($84,100,000 to each major party nominee who chooses to participate by agreeing not to accept private contributions for the general election) and matching payments to participating candidates during the primary campaign (up to a maximum of $21,025,000).

(1) Please note that other candidates have declined to participate in the Matching Fund program.

Matching funds chart, August 2008

  • Author 
    • Meredith Metzler