June 19th, 2008
09:15 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama's funding decision makes history

(CNN) - Barack Obama will become the first major party presidential nominee to refuse general election public financing in the program’s history, since it first went into effect in the 1976 presidential election as part of a package of post-Watergate campaign finance reforms

Candidates who participate in the program receive a grant from the federal government (approximately $85 million per major party nominee) from which the candidate’s entire general election campaign must be financed. Participating candidates may not raise or spend money outside of this public funding grant.

In February 2007, Obama asked the Federal Election Commission whether federal rules allowed presidential candidates to begin raising money for the general election and then later return that money should the candidate decide later to participate in the general election public financing program. The FEC ruled unanimously in March 2007 that presidential candidates could essentially change their minds and accept general election public financing - provided that they return any money raised for the general election while following certain guidelines. Obama’s actions were seen as a desire on his part to preserve the public financing option, while still enabling him to protectively raise general election money.

The contribution limit that a donor may give to a presidential campaign is $2300 during the primaries (i.e. “pre-convention” period) and if the candidate does not accept general election public funding, another $2300 for the general election (i.e. “post-convention” period). Any of Obama’s donors who maxed out during the primaries may start over and donate up to another $2300 for the general.

Obama has already been raising money for the general election, as allowed by law. As of April 30, 2008, Obama had raised about $9.2 million specifically for use in the general election. This is not the “matching funds” program, which applies only during the primary season, not the general election. The two programs are completely different and are operated under different rules.

This Friday, June 20, is the filing deadline for the next round of monthly FEC campaign finance reports, which will detail fundraising and spending through May 31.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Obama Fools

    Wow... most people on this blog are plain stupid and ignorant. The public funds are NOT your taxes, you idiots! It's coming from the $1 that you pledge to give when you check the box on your 1040 during tax time. It is NOT coming from taxes.

    June 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Paul

    I think he may have to ask Laura Bush since it looks like she is running for the spot. Then W could still have his finger in the Pie.

    Austin, Texas

    June 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. demwit

    Nope! No speical interest money here...

    June 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    There has never been any question in my mind about Obama's high degree of credibility. He is an honest candidate since I switched to him from Clinton, due to her mud-slinging and dirty politics. I completely believe that when he says something, he is sincere to the utmost the statements which he has made.

    June 19, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Sylvia Johnsen

    Obama is the hedge funds of politics. There's no limit to the historical successes they advertise. I think those breaking news of records and changing history has one purpose – it's a shameless sting and 352 superdelegates went for it.

    June 19, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Bob in Ohio

    Real change! Yeah, Obama is a joke.

    June 19, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. flavoter

    So if Mister Obama took the federal grant, there would be complaints about that interesting.
    Let's say McCain agrees to do the same thing and the federal money from both parties be redirected let's say into school lunch programs that will be scrapped shortly not just (the federal lunch programs) food price are out of reach of alot of schools budgets. So do they pay increasing fuel prices to transport kids and let the burden of providing lunch fall totally on the parents, and thus eliminating food service workers. And this crosses all racial and ethinic boundaries. Sad because McCain continues to flip-flop on basically everthing our saying around here is not when will he flip-flop but how many times per day. We have a pool going.

    So let's stay focused on the issues…The kids and security should always be at the top of the list of things to do first. Petty people have petty minds.

    Obama / Powell 08

    June 19, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Ben, Pittsburgh

    As an Obama supporter, I'm glad to hear this decision. I worry, however, that as concerns about the economy grow, people will be more prudent with their checkbooks and not donate as much.

    OBAMA 08

    June 19, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Time to move on

    Unbelievable,America is lucky to have this young intelligent,forwardlooking and caring man.No wonder America is the leader of the world
    OBAMA 08 Power to the people

    June 19, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Independent

    Change in position? Isn't that what he accuses Senator McCain of on a daily basis?

    Bottom line – he can make more money off of the Obamabots and the Casinos (which have funded him heavily). Of course, Obamabots look at everything he does as a wonderful step towards change when in fact the changes he is making benefit HIM, not necessarily anyone else.

    Obama: Change for me YOU can believe in.

    June 19, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Randy S.

    JC IN NJ June 19th, 2008 10:30 am ET

    Does anyone out there still think McSame has a chance….?
    Honesty and integrity are going to win in November!

    Well, that pretty much rules out Obama, since he has been dishonest regarding this.

    proud army and navy mom June 19th, 2008 10:41 am ET

    Sen Obama is an intelligent, solemn thinking young man who will serve this country with honor and pride.

    I trust him with the well-being of my son and daughter in the military.

    Since when has a Democrat ever given a rat's behind about anyone in the military. As a military mom, you should be very worried chould Obama become CinC. He will turn this country into a second-rate power in the world.

    I simply cannot believe how many of you folks are praising this decision. The man lied about his intentions outright, and all you KoolAid drinkers can say is "Good move, Obama". i really think there should be an intelligence test in order to vote.

    June 19, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Won't Be Held Hostage by Clinton "PUMAS"

    Well what's wrong with saying "Thanks, but I'll use the money from my supporters and the Democratic Party". Let me ask this; If I asked someone to have 50 bucks, but I came up with the 50 bucks on my own somehow... why would I take your money? See PUMAS? We don't need your money, Obama is a man and he doesn't have to beg. There are not 18 million of your last time I checked your idiotic blog. Let me do the math, since usually PUMAS are bad at that type of thing. I saw yesterday on CNN that 25% of Clinton supporters are not supporting Obama. So that means:

    75% of 18 million is 13.5 million
    plus the 18 million that Obama had that supported him originally (I know you always seem to forget about us)

    That makes it 31.5 million Democratic supporters.
    Obama has an 11 point lead on McCain with Independants.
    Plus disaffected Republicans.

    That Equals:

    (You may want to get used to saying it now)

    June 19, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. lol @ mini-Roves

    You all can stop chanting the "flip-flop" mantra. This type of brainwashing only remains effective on viewers of FOX News.

    ...and seriously, it's so 2004.

    "RaRrrRR we're so mad this guy is only using money donated by his pledged supporters! flip flopper flip flop flip flop flip flop osama inexperienced don't change a horse midstream swiftboat lapel pin TERROR!"

    June 19, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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