Federal Matching Funds Law and Legal Definition

Federal Matching Funds are the money supplied to campaign funds from public resources and administered by the Federal Election Commission. Federal matching funds match donations made by individual contributors dollar-for-dollar up to a maximum of $250 per donation.

Candidates are not obliged to take matching funds, but if they opt to do so they must restrict their spending to a maximum of approximately $40m during the presidential primary period.

Funding is paid out in three stages: matching funds for the primaries. A block grant for the conventions, a further block grant for the general election.

Those who decline matching funds are free from any spending limits although they are still bound by contribution limits including a $2,000 limit from each individual.

To qualify for funds, candidates need to show they are viable by raising at least $100,000 in individual donations, including at least $5,000 from 20 different states.

Candidates who fail to receive at least 10% of the popular vote in two successive primary elections lose their eligibility for continued payments, unless and until they receive at least 20% of the vote in a later primary.