McCain and Tancredo certified for matching funds
On August 29, 2007, the Commission certified that John McCain is the first 2008 Presidential candidate eligible to receive Presidential primary matching funds. On September 10, the Commission also certified that Thomas Tancredo is eligible to receive primary matching funds. 26 U.S.C. §§9033(a) and b; 11 CFR 9033.1 and 9033.3.
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. To become eligible for matching funds, a candidate must raise a threshold amount of $100,000 by collecting $5,000 in 20 different states in amounts no greater than $250 from an individual. 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 also agree to limit their spending and submit to an audit by the Commission.
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.
Treasury Department regulations require that funds for the convention and general election grants be set aside before any matching fund payments are made, 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. The maximum amount a candidate could receive is currently estimated to be about $21 million.