NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump says he's leaning against accepting public financing for his general election campaign — an option that would have saved him the arduous task of raising the vast sums he will need but also would have put strict limits on what he could spend.
"I think I've ruled it out," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said in a Tuesday interview with The Associated Press.
"I don't like the idea of taking taxpayer money to run a campaign," he added. "I think it's inappropriate."
Trump has largely self-financed his primary campaign, spending what he estimates to be $45-$50 million dollars so far, supplemented by contributions from supporters.
Trump, his aides and Republican officials have been huddling in New York and Washington in recent days hashing out details of how they'll run his general election campaign, including various fundraising options, after he suddenly became his party's presumptive nominee last week.
While Trump has discussed investing significant sums of his personal fortune to help elect fellow Republicans to Congress, he had previously left the door open to paying for his own campaign using the public financing system, which provides major party presidential nominees a lump sum grant of roughly $94.14 million in the general election. But by accepting the grant, a candidate may not raise any additional funds and is severely limited in how much of his own money he can give or lend to his campaign.
It would have been highly unusual for Trump to accept the grant. President Barack Obama effectively ended the practice of candidates taking general election public financing in 2008, when he chose not to accept it. His Republican rival John McCain took the grant that year and was swamped by the Obama campaign's spending.
Trump has previously said that he expects the general election campaign to cost more than of $1 billion, but would not say Tuesday how much of his money he's planning to spend on this next phase.
"I have no idea what it's going to cost," he said of the general election. "But I'll be spending a lot."
Money for the public financing of campaigns is collected through a voluntary $3 checkoffs on taxpayers' returns. The checkoffs do not affect how much money a taxpayer owes.
AP writer Julie Bykowicz contributed to this report from Washington
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