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  • Press Release

FEC Approves Matching Funds for 2008 Presidential Candidates

July 16, 2008


For Immediate Release


Bob Biersack

July 16, 2008

George Smaragdis

Michelle Ryan

FEC Approves Matching Funds for 2008 Presidential Candidates

WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission (FEC/the Commission) has certified that six Presidential candidates are eligible to receive a total of $7,441,898.38 in federal matching funds for their 2008 primary campaigns.  This brings the total matching fund certifications in the 2008 campaign thus far to $26,729,403.03.  The Commission has also determined that the independent campaign of Ralph Nader is eligible to receive matching funds.

Candidates who participated in the program in 2004 received a total of $28.4 million in matching funds.  During the 2000 campaign the total was $62.3 million and in 1996 primary campaigns received a total of $58.5 million in matching funds.

The following chart is a breakdown of the individual amounts that were certified by the Commission.


Certified July 15

Joseph R. Biden (D)


Christopher J. Dodd (D)


John Edwards (D)


Duncan Hunter (R)


Dennis Kucinich (D)


Ralph Nader (I)





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 of approximately $50 million, 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.

The federal government matches up to $250 of an individual''''s total contributions to an eligible candidate.  Following the primary season, candidates may be entitled to receive additional matching funds to assist in winding down their campaigns or to retire debts. The maximum amount a candidate can receive in 2008 is $21,025,000.

Today’s totals 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 to candidates during the latter part of that period, 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 this action on July 15. Additional contributions may be submitted for certification depending on specific financial circumstances for each eligible campaign.

The Presidential public funding program is financed through the $3 check-off that appears on individual income tax returns.The program provides for distribution of funds for three separate purposes: (1) matching payments to participating candidates during the primary campaign; (2) grants to parties to help fund their nominating conventions ($16,820,000 to each major party); and (3) 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).

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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