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End the Presidential Election Fund

The Presidential Election Campaign Fund provides federal tax dollars in the form of matching funds to candidates in Presidential primaries provided the candidates qualify and agree to abide by certain spending and contribution limits. It provides grants to qualifying Presidential candidates in general elections, if they agree not to accept other contributions. The program also provides grants to sponsor national party conventions. In short, it provides taxpayer subsidies to political candidates and parties. Since 2000, some major candidates have chosen to forgo public financing. While some have argued that providing even more taxpayer funding for this program might entice more candidates to participate, eliminating the program all together would save taxpayers $520 million over ten years and would require candidates and political parties to rely on private donations rather than tax dollars. The amount of funding for the public financing system is determined by checkoffs on income tax returns, and taxpayer participation via the checkoffs has declined from 28.7% in 1980 to 7.3% in 2009.

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