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. Obama - Nation

    Change we can beleive in and in McFlops words "my friend"

    June 19, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Hillary Democrats for OBAMA

    Just donated.

    More and more it's looking like Barack just might be the real deal.

    June 19, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Will, NJ

    By denying public financing he is allowing people who actually want their money going to him to do so. McCain is just fine spending valuable taxpayers dollars to fund his greed machine.

    "I think, therefore I am (Elitist)"

    June 19, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. christina

    We're proud of you Obama! The American people (or at least those that actually have common sense) are with you 100%!

    June 19, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. marvinj

    Wow !!! Obama decides to pay his own way with the help of his millions and growing supporters, and the winers say this is a bad thing? Confusing these are the same people who in there own minds are the only ones paying taxes and they foot the bill for everything...NOT. 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 be directed 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 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Bill From Florida

    He's making history alright..

    If he's elected, he'll be the dumbest President we have ever had.

    June 19, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Kenneth M


    June 19, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Bishop

    This is to show McCain how it done...


    June 19, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Doris

    Let's keep on making history !!!

    June 19, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. NoMcSame

    This is what and how you show support by sending money and voting.
    18 million voters and they can't even give her $1.00 to help her out of the hole. What kind of support is that? All day they come on here and TRY to smear Obama with the same LIP service that they give Hillary. If you REALLY love her PUMA People and want to help her then send her your money and if you don't you are just full of HOT AIR. Show us how strong you are by wiping out her dept today. Now go vote McSame and shut your mouth.
    OBAMA08 with or without you. You can take that to the BANK.
    Yes we can Yes we will Yes we did

    June 19, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Bishop

    Obamanation '08...I like that....

    Just gave more HONEST money to the Great One, and no I don't mean Triple H from WWE...

    June 19, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Speechless

    Now he is changing his position on free trade as well. It's enough to make your head spin.

    June 19, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Alice

    Let the government's $80 million go to Iowa flood victims. We'll fund your campaing, Barack. And you'll be answerable to us – the little people!

    June 19, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Anne

    I wish people would stop use all upper case when giving their comment. That means you are SHOUTING..Not necessary..everyone gets the message and it's rude.- to shout. I have also noticed that most of those who do this also misspell words.

    June 19, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. AJ

    Another instance of Obama saying one thing at one point during the campaign and then changing huis mind a couple of months later. Is this the way he intends to run the nation? Please, the man is a loose cannon and his wife is worse. I have been a democrat all of my life but I really cant stomach these two. I'll be sitting out the election in November. The choices we have really stink!

    June 19, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Erika, KS

    Yes. The best money can buy your way to the White House. The man has no shame. Watch him go. He will do and say anything, ANYTHING, I tell you, to buy his way into the Presidency. Shameful.

    June 19, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. NJ

    This is historic. I just donated on-line. Obama is sincerely about change. He talks the talk but also walks the walk. Here is to PEOPLE taking back our goverment.

    June 19, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. MMN - Milwaukee WI

    Donate to Obama '08.

    Then guard your small investment with your vote in November. That’s how its built from the ground up. We got your back BO.

    June 19, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Anna, OH

    His flip flop on not only this, but NAFTA, is extremely disgusting and goes against his 'change' rhetoric.

    June 19, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Bag of Wind

    I don't like Barack. Change is a scary thing.

    Obama may have better ideas than McCain, but he offers too much change. Let's stick to the bad policies that we know.

    McCain 08!

    June 19, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. GOP Secrets

    All people do on here is hate! Get a grip republicans, I know it is hard seeing your chances of making that easy money slip away to someone who happens to be black. What your really saying is that oh now he is gonna bring his (black) people and they will get that money or contracts that was ment for you! Well let me tell ya, in President Obama's eye we are all his people (Black, White, Brown, & Yellow) Give it up the pot is almost fully melted, so welcome to the new America!!! Land of the FREE & Home of the Melting Pot!

    When you idiots are done with your racism
    tatics we will be here with open arms, cause
    it looks like you idiots need a hug!

    OBAMA 08

    June 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Student of Luther College

    I'm glad my tax money isn't going to a campaign. I'm all for allocating that 85 million dollars to something more important. Education, anyone?

    June 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Paul

    Obama is walking his talk!

    Austin, Texas

    June 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Becky

    Sorry. I'm not jumping on this bandwagon.

    June 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Ralph

    Barack will raise his money through public financing. People like me who are donating, are publicly financing his campaign. He will continue to work hard to win over more people like myself. McCain will take the 85 million dollar big government handout for doing nothing.

    June 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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