April 4th, 2008
03:02 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain returns $3 million in donations


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/04/art.mccain0403.ap.jpg
caption="John McCain’s campaign returned $3 million in donations this week."] (CNN) - Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign sent back $3 million in donations, an aide confirms to CNN.

The return of the donations seems to suggest that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee might be planning to accept public financing for the general election.

Presidential candidates can receive a maximum of $4,600 from any single donor: $2,300 for their primary run, and $2,300 for the fall campaign. But if they accept government funds for the general election campaign, they are only allowed to keep the first $2,300.

McCain will still be able to use much the money, if donors who have had their checks returned re-direct them to his “general compliance fund” instead – a move he has requested in a letter to supporters.

(General compliance funds are used for legal expenses that arise from Federal Election Commission requirements, including related payroll and fundraising costs.)

Neither of the Arizona senator’s potential fall opponents will likely be bound by the fundraising limits of the federal public financing system.

Sen. Barack Obama, who had earlier pledged to accept public money if the GOP nominee did as well, has been more equivocal on his plans since becoming the Democratic frontrunner. Sen. Hillary Clinton has said that she will not participate in the program.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. John - Maryland

    Heard Clinton wants to appoint a "poverty Czar". What another gimmick to get elected or endorsed by John edwards….John…do not listen to this woman. First we had a "drug czar" – Whatever happened to drungs today….More people in Jail…more people in rehab….sheeeeesh!!!! for christ sake. Hillaryy drop it. Just concede and let's support the presumtive nominee……..


    April 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Chris in Va.

    Hey John, if you're giving it away......

    April 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Grif

    Why? Oh Why. Do people invest in this Guy, and then let him give it back ... He can make a change, from the Balk/Jib; that they say the Country is going... Find some different way to 'pay it him back' for November.. Consequently, he's a Shy Guy. As a result, you will need to be more Forceful.

    April 4, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. California Independent

    Good info. I have been giving to Clinton, but if Obama gets the nom the checks start going to McCain. If you get info on 527s going after Obama that would be good info too and the restrictions on how much can be given. My understanding is there is no limit to 527s. woohoo!

    April 4, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Bayou Joe

    Paying for the campaign with my money is like asking me to donate to my own hanging and provide the rope too boot. Candidates should have to use their own money to run for public office. That way they won't be indebted to anyone when they are elected.

    We have the best politicians that money can buy.

    The first candidate that says he will stop paying for illegals medical bills, get them off welfare and purge the Social Security rolls of people that have never paid a penny into it but receive benefits, gets my vote.

    April 4, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. kathleen

    What a guy. Would he have had to go to prison had he not returned it.
    And it is too late to say you are sorry that you voted against "Martin Luther King's Holiday" years ago. Why did not you apologize before today. Got Caught?????

    Obama 2008

    April 4, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. NickNas

    OF COURSE he did. We have been waiting for this move.
    Here is how it will work..they will NEVER stop badgering Obama to limit his funds to public funds because they knwo that it is WE THE PEOPLE who fund him and we are PISSED OFF!


    You think Hillary is dirty just wait..... Sure McSame will just spend PUBLIC funds but ALL OF THE FAT CATS , CORPORATIONS and all of those Mysterious " GROUP FOR THIS OR THATS" will pop up with seemingly endless money to constantly bombard Obama with SWIFTBOAT type attacks. The ONLY chance he has is to have enough cash to do what he did in the primary and that is have the resources to SHOOT DOWN THE LIES AS FAST AS THEY COME UP!!!!

    This is how it will play and I am sure of it. So here is some free advice if they didn't know it or those high paid " Advisors" haven't figured it out. Hell I am looking for a job....need help??

    How right I am will be in DIRECT proportion to how LOUD they get for Obama to cut off his supporters cash! Mark my words.

    April 4, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Not sleeping at the switch

    “general compliance fund”

    Can you say " HUGE LOOP_HOLE" ?? and it will be streached all out of shape too!

    April 4, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. JERRY


    April 4, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. Darth Vadik, CA

    He's returning it because he can't raise more than that himself, not because he is trying to look "good". The base is crumbling right underneath his feet.

    April 4, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Gary in Toronto

    This is just McCain getting ready to call Obama on his public financing pledge because he knows he doesn't have a prayer of competing with him on donations.

    I think Obama should follow through on his pledge. Do we really see McCain filling auditoriums with 20, 000 people? The most motivated volunteers on the fight are usually Christian conservatives who will likely be sitting this one out so I

    April 4, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Gary in Toronto

    (oops) cont/

    really don't think Obama has anything to lose.

    April 4, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. Nunya

    To the author of the article – check your facts and get your statements straight when writing your articles. Obama did not pledge to accept public money if the GOP nominee did. He said that if he is the nominee he would aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee on it. There is a huge difference.

    April 4, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. Your Future

    I think it should be too late. How can we take McCain seriously on Campaign Finance Reform when he doesn't abide by his own rules. I, on the other hand, am running a penniless campaign because Americans are tired of giving money to politicians and government.

    April 4, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  15. JC

    this seperates who the really honest candidates are and the fake ones

    April 4, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. Len

    A man of integrity.

    April 4, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. Mark, MI

    Barack Obama going against his word.... wow... how surprising.... NOT.
    McCain 08!

    April 4, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. Ken

    Man, don't give the McBush supporters their money back! I'd rather see them waste their money on a losing cause. Those same knuckleheads who voted in our current disaster-in-charge have wasted enough of my money over the last 8 years. Fiscally conservative [R]s?....what a JOKE!

    April 4, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. Interesting

    Obama would be a fool to accept public funding. The RNC will cheat so badly, he'd be giving away the election.

    No one would fault him.

    April 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. christine

    now everybody wants to do the obama way, get on the bandwagon but dont forget that you might fall short, now i even see clinton campaining the way obama does you know, obama talks about parents being better parents, I had clinton started saying the samething

    April 4, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. Bob, Kapaa, HI

    Ha. He doesn't need the money. He just needs to get into his wife's wallet every now and then. Cindy, hide your purse!!

    April 4, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. Nicolas Smith

    I can't believe this man he is a 'political coward'. He knows he can't raise the money like Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama so he is looking for public financing. The ace up his sleave is 'karl rove' (notice his name is in lower case). But I have total respect for his war and public service although he is a political coward.

    April 4, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |