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Election Law Co-Chair Michael Toner Comments on House Effort to Cut Taxpayer Presidential Campaign Fund

ABC News
December 1, 2011

Election Law & Government Ethics Practice co-chair Michael Toner was quoted in an ABC News article focusing on efforts by House Republicans to end the $200 million taxpayer fund that is set aside for presidential campaigns. The GOP-sponsored legislation would transfer money in the presidential fund back to the Treasury Department in an effort to bring down the deficit.

The article notes that over the past 35 years every major party nominee has funded their general election campaign using public money, with the exception of President Barack Obama in 2008. Taking the public money prevents a candidate from raising private money. As a result, neither candidate in 2012 is expected to accept public money.

"If you don't take the public money, it's just game on," said Mr. Toner, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. "You can raise as much as you like and spend as much as you want. All these rules kick in if you take public money."

With the Obama campaign aiming to raise at least $1 billion next election cycle, Mr. Toner added that "We definitely have seen a geometric increase in presidential campaign fundraising in the last 10 years. It's due to the extraordinary costs of reaching a nation as broad and diverse as America."