[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/11/art.mccainmoney.ap.jpg caption="McCain will turn down federal matching funds. "]
(CNN) - John McCain will turn down government matching funds for his primary campaign, a move that frees the Arizona senator and campaign finance reform advocate from spending caps.
In a letter to the Federal Elections Commission Monday, the presumptive Republican nominee wrote he will "make no requests for matching payments, and will not accept matching-fund payments, including the initial amounts and other amounts certified by the Federal Election Commission in connection with previous submissions."
McCain had asked to participate in the system, in a last ditch effort to keep his cash-poor campaign alive. In December, the FEC said he was eligible for $5.8 million. But had he accepted that money, McCain would have only been allowed to spend about $54 million total on his primary campaign, according to the Associated Press.
McCain is still eligible to accept federal matching funds for his general election campaign.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney