WASHINGTON – Al Sharpton's (search) financially struggling campaign has lost one valuable source of money — at least for now. The Federal Election Commission (search) has cut off government financing for the Democrat's campaign. The FEC ruled Sharpton spent too much of his own money on his campaign, exceeding the $50,000 personal spending limit imposed on candidates who accept public funding.
Sharpton is considering going to court to challenge the commission, campaign spokesman Charles Halloran said Monday. Sharpton contends that when his personal spending on non-campaign travel is subtracted he is well within the spending limit.
The FEC has not decided whether Sharpton will have to repay the $100,000 his campaign received from the government. It decided to cut off additional funding last week.
The public financing program offers presidential candidates a monthly, taxpayer-financed match of up to $250 for each private contribution they raise during the primary season, up to total grants of about $18.6 million.
To qualify, candidates must raise at least $5,000 in each of 20 states and abide by other requirements, including overall, state-by-state and personal spending limits. Former Democratic hopeful Wesley Clark has received the most from the program so far this election: nearly $8 million.
Sharpton's campaign has raised at least $668,096 and spent nearly all of it. It had $5,046 in the bank and owed $656,550 at the beginning of April, according to the most recent campaign finance report available.