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Hart Campaign to Act Monday to Obtain U.S. Matching Funds

December 19, 1987|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The reborn presidential campaign of Gary Hart plans Monday to take the first formal step toward obtaining more than $1 million in federal matching funds, Hart's campaign counsel said Friday.

Hart will present the Federal Election Commission with a letter certifying that he is now conducting an active campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Such a letter must be filed with the FEC for a candidate to receive matching funds.

In addition, several states require that a candidate be registered at the FEC to qualify for statewide primary ballots, said Hart's lawyer, Bernard Schneider of Newport Beach.

Hart to Map Strategy

Hart, meanwhile, plans to map strategy over the weekend as he meets at his home near Denver with a small group of longtime advisers, including Sue Casey, campaign assistant; Eli Siegel, fund-raiser, and Michael Stratton, political consultant.

For the most part, "he will just rest up," said Sue Evans, campaign volunteer.

Qualifying for federal matching funds is a three-step process. After the FEC has received a letter of candidacy, the second step is for the campaign to submit a detailed list of contributors to show that it has met the threshold for getting money: raising $5,000 in each of 20 states with contributions of $250 or less. The government matches all contributions up to $250.

Prepared List in Spring

Once the FEC's auditors have checked the contribution list, the way is clear for the final step, a vote by the commission to instruct the Treasury to begin mailing checks. Hart's staff prepared a contributor list last spring, but the FEC staff did not review it before he quit the race earlier this year.

In Denver, a makeshift Hart campaign organization of volunteers answered phones at state Democratic Party headquarters.

The tiny rented office where his reborn campaign will be centered stood empty for much of the day with a small sign in the window that simply read "Gary Hart." Supporters later in the day were seen moving furniture into the building.

Evans said the campaign office will open for business Monday, and that Hart will perhaps put in an appearance.

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