WASHINGTON — Gary Hart formally asked the Federal Election Commission on Monday for federal matching funds for his aborted Democratic presidential bid, but his aides admitted that he faces "formidable" legal barriers to receiving any of the money.
Hart's campaign officials estimate that, if the FEC accepts all their claims, Hart will receive $940,000 in federal funds. Because the former candidate's 1988 campaign would show a small surplus without the matching funds, they say, he could use the matching funds to pay back some of the roughly $1.3 million he owes from his 1984 presidential campaign.
The federal government provides matching funds to all candidates who prove that they can raise substantial funds on their own. Hart's chief hurdle, his lawyers say, is the requirement that a candidate who asks for matching money must certify that he "is seeking" the presidential nomination.
Signed May 4
Hart signed a document certifying his candidacy on May 4, just as his campaign began to fall apart amid allegations that the candidate had spent the preceding weekend in Washington with Miami actress Donna Rice.