Trump on public financing: 'I don't know yet'

Story highlights

  • Trump said he does not know if he would be willing to spend $1 billion of his own money on a general election campaign
  • People love the fact that I'm putting my own money in," Trump said

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump said the American political process is in need of campaign finance reform, adding that he -- a candidate who has repeatedly touted his decision to self-fund his campaign as a selling point for his candidacy -- hasn't decided if he would accept public financing for the general election.

"I don't know yet. I haven't thought of it. I am thinking about this one," he said. "I'm financing my own campaign. When I get (to the general election), it's a little bit of a different story, because the (Republican Party) gets involved and other people get involved and so a little bit of a different story."
Trump also told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday on "State of the Union" that his 2016 rivals, including his top GOP competitor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, are beholden to outside interests due to their reliance on donations.
    Trump said campaign finance reform is needed "because I think PACs are a horrible thing."
    "First of all, everybody is dealing with their PAC. You know, it's supposed to be like this secret thing -- they're all dealing," he said.
    Trump said campaigns and PACs, short for political action committees, work closely together, which he said allowed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to host a campaign event while his political action committee -- which is legally prohibited from coordinating with the campaign -- held a separate event next door.
    "You tell me they're not dealing with each other? So, I think PACs are very bad. I think they're very dangerous," Trump said. "I do think there has to be transparency, but PACs are very bad."
    Trump also suggested Cruz -- with whom he's increasingly feuded in recent days -- as being under the "control" of his donors.
    "Ted Cruz, he's got a lot of people putting big money in -- probably, maybe, Goldman Sachs, we'll have to ask. I mean, they loaned him a million dollars, so they certainly have control over him," Trump said, referring to a loan Cruz received from the financial giant for his 2012 Senate campaign.
    "That's the way it is. Somebody gives them money. Not anything wrong, just psychologically, when they go to that person, they're going to do that," he said. "They owe them, and by the way, they may therefore vote negatively towards the country. That's not gonna happen with me."
    Trump said he is open to accepting public financing in a general election campaign if he wins the Republican nomination -- which would place strict spending limits on him -- but has yet to make a final decision. The billionaire, however, regularly boasts that he has spent little on his campaign so far, in contrast to candidates like Bush, who have spent tens of millions on their campaigns.
    Trump said he will spend more of his own money on his bid saying over the summer he was prepared to spend $1 billion of his own money to win the White House.
    Trump added that he doesn't think his daughter, Ivanka, or his other children would like the idea of public financing.
    So why does Trump finance his own campaign? Because his supporters "love" it, he said.
    "Last week in Iowa and in New Hampshire I had a standing ovation just when I said, 'By the way, I'm self-funding my campaign.' I had a standing ovation. People love the fact that I'm putting my own money in," he said.
    "That means that unlike Bush, who is totally controlled by these people, and unlike Hillary (Clinton) and honestly Marco (Rubio) and everybody," he added.