June 19th, 2008
09:15 AM ET
14 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. jim

    A flip-flop of monumental proportions. Shows what we'll get with a sNObama presidency: broken promises and politically expedient backtracks.

    McCain 08

    (let's see if CNN actually publishes this)

    June 19, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Helen

    THANK YOU FOR NOT WASTING MONEY. IN THIS ELECTION, AT THIS TIME, IT IS NOT NEEDED. THE PEOPLE HAVE SHOWN AND WILL CONTINUE TO SHOW SEN. OBAMA THAT WE SUPPORT HIS RUN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.

    THERE IS ALOT OF WORK STILL REQUIRED AND A LIMIT OF $85M JUST WON'T CUT IT.

    THANKS...SENATOR OBAMA. EXCELLENT DECISION.

    June 19, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Jim

    Democrat in FL, i'll admit that made me laugh, lol. But in any case I'm donating to Obama, I support his decision and think this is a great move and is changing the face of government, for the better, for the people! He IS taking public financing as it is, all his donations are from people like me, not from special interests! This man is a once in a life time oppurtunity!!

    June 19, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Mike in Calgary

    Obama's decision saves taxpayer dollars, and is criticized by McCain and his Adviser, Steve Schmidt! But Trillions for IRAQ is OK with McCain!

    Talk about Penny wise and pound foolish!

    The Republicans are PENNY FOOLISH AND POUND FOOLISH, and the US Taxpayer and over 4,100 young Americans in uniform pay for their FOOLISHNESS!

    Another nail in McCain's coffin!

    Mike

    June 19, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. No OBUMA! LIES! LIES!

    Don't trust his words... He lies too many times and always have false reasons to back up. No respect for him since he hijacked MI delegates. SHAME on YOU! No integrity!

    Why did you stand up not accept the MI delegates that did not belong to you. Your name was neve on the ballot!

    You' do not represent change. You represent the old politics .
    I am now proud of being Independent. You lost my trust and repect. I hope you will not win in NOV. You're an illegit presumptive nominne like G.B was an illegit president in 2000.

    June 19, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Tom

    So he kept all options on the table, he aint so dumb, a typical politician, yes.

    If ya'll want to spend your $$ that way, I mean try and buy an election, more power to you. I just wish I had $$ to throw away now. I sure won't if he gets in office, with the way he's gonna have to raise EVERYONE's taxes to do all the stuff he says he's going to do. Of course all the lazy poor people that don't have any $$ will be happy because he'll just keep enabling them to be lazy and give them handouts.

    June 19, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. obinna

    this is how president suppose act

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. obinna

    with obama we can unit together

    June 19, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Power to the People

    Obama says he does not want money and Mcflop supporters are enraged. I am surprised. Cindy has $100 million why not just use it or tell big oil about it

    WE THE PEOPLE PAY THE PIPER
    WE THE PEOPLE CALL THE TUNE
    NO TO McCANE LOBBYIST AND BIG OIL

    Obama 08

    June 19, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. Johnny Knoxville Brian, TN

    Ouch! This really ties McCain's hands behind his back. Good move Senator Obama.

    Obama is a Lamboghini while McCain is a 39 DeSoto.

    McCain wants town hall debates because that's all he can fill. Besides BINGO PARLORS!

    June 19, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. Student for OBAMA 08!!!

    The Obama Campaign is historic in more ways than one and I am glad to be witnessing it

    June 19, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. bridgette

    Where does this money come from. Because as a tax payer I have no desire whatsoever too pay for anyone's campaign. That is money that can go to some of these people who's homes are under water or go towards schools. But definately not so someone can run for office. If you can't raise money then maybe that's says alot about your leadership. If you can't inspire people too donate then what can you inspire them too do.

    June 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Time to the Thruth

    California Voter maybe you never watched CNN. And you simply enjoy you farvorite FOX new where they brain wash you. Have fun

    June 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. THE WORLD IS WATCHING *HOPE IS COMING

    BRIAN AND ANY OTHER MCCANT'S SUPPORTERS..........................

    PLEASE CHECK OUT ENRON LOOPHOLE

    CHECK OUT WHO YOUR SUPPORTING........

    JUST IN CASE YOU CAN FIND IT .........GO TO MSNBC KEITH OLBERMANN

    WHO IS CONNECTED.......??????????? NOT OBAMA...........

    SOMEBODY'S HANDS GOT CAUGHT IN THE COOKIE JAR......GUESS WHO....?

    OBAMA /08/12

    June 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Clinton supporter for Obama

    Brian from Knoxville - You can't have it both ways. Its neither Obama played by the rules or was unethicially challenging towards his opponents. It seems your own logic is flip-flopping. Your just scared that Obama doesn't need Gov't money to beat McCain. When you find out that it will take the American people to fight against the 527's smear tactics and a Republican party which has ignored the American people for decades. You will realize this isn't a campaign anymore, it's a movement.

    June 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. Billy in NYC

    Even the owner of Fox News has stated that Obama will win this November and it won't even be close. It is not that anyone is being biased at CNN it is just that Captain John McCain's boat has a ton of holes in it. How can anyone win thinking that Iraq was a great idea? Does anyone believe it will be a great investment for '100 years'. That is just outlandish and he should have changed his view on that issue to at least make it competitive.

    June 19, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Mike

    First of all, the flip flop ploy will not work this time because people are :

    I dont understand why people would be upset that he is not spending Tax payer money.

    June 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. FEDUP

    Let the Obama-bots pay for Michelles training. She needs lots of it. Maybe they can pay for braces, while their at it. A Jackie Kennedy she is not. Jackie was a real lady. Of course the Kennedys are very rich, and know about poise and refinement.

    June 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Ray

    Everything about Obama's campaign is revolutionary. History in the making. McSame needs to step aside.

    June 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Mike

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    First of all, the flip flop ploy will not work this time because people are not buying, and they also know that people change their minds. Just like many people are in support of Senator Obama

    Second, I dont understand why people would be upset that he is not spending Tax payer money. For the people who are always complaining about taxes and Government programs, it seems like a blatent contradiction in your views (sort of a flip flop).

    June 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Sorry about my earlier comment, I meant to say I know Barack (my man) will debate McCain on his terms and he won't let McCain define how the debates proceed (like a true leader). I just really want to apologize for spreading misinformation and beg for forgiveness. I truthfully can't stand PUMA people but am a really weak person who can't make decisions on my own. Please forgive me and I promise to vote for Obama.

    Brian Knoxville, TN

    June 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Raymond Duke

    With the rich liberals and the middle east muslim countries backing you and the money they are making of off oil would you take public financing.

    June 19, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Kathy

    Wow – another FLIP-FLOP by Obama. Why am I NOT surprised?

    I've lost count of the number of times Obama has reversed himself on one of his "principled" stances. Does this guy have ANY integrity?

    It really is JUST WORDS as far as Obama is concerned - and apparently his words aren't worth anything. Does Obama MEAN anything he says? At this point, everything that comes out of his mouth seems calculated, not at all authentic.

    Obama may be the BEST "politician" in this race, but THAT is not the main quality I'm seeking in a president!

    June 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    Eat your hearts out baby boomers
    eat your hearts out
    after what you did to us
    2 Bushes and Reagan
    and after what FDR did for you
    you should be ashamed of yourselves
    for what you are leaving us with
    shame shame shame
    ON YOU

    June 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Kenneth

    The McCain was out smarted by a inexperience Jr Sen. from ILL.
    will wondors never quit.

    June 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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