ABC News’ Bret Hovell reports: Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., became the first presidential candidate to qualify for public financing for his campaign Tuesday.
The Federal Election Commission announced McCain is eligible to receive the money, which would be disbursed from the federal treasury.
However McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said no decision has been made about whether the campaign will apply for the matching funds.
"This simply allows us to move forward in the process, should we decide to do that," Rogers said.
To qualify for public matching funds, a presidential candidate must raise $100,000 by collecting $5,000 from any twenty states from contributions totaling no more than $250 each. If the FEC determines that money has been collected, the candidate is eligible to apply for matching funds.
But there’s a catch. Public matching funds would be capped, and the candidate would have to abide by spending limits.
The McCain campaign has had money troubles in recent months. During the second quarter of 2007, the campaign spent more money than it raised, and finished the quarter with less than $2 million in the bank when its debts are factored in.
McCain acknowledges his campaign’s financial problems, arguing it was a problem with spending rather than raising money, a problem that he says has been fixed.
According to the FEC, Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean was certified to receive matching funds in July of 2003, a month earlier in that cycle than McCain got certified this time around. The former Vermont Governor did not end up taking the federal money.