(a) A participating candidate or his or her committee may not accept, spend or obligate exploratory contributions exceeding $20,000 in the aggregate, during the exploratory period. At the time the participating candidate formally declares his or her intent to qualify for public campaign financing, in accordance with section five of this article, any unexpended or undedicated contributions received during any precandidacy period which preceded the exploratory period shall be deemed to be exploratory contributions for that candidate. The maximum individual exploratory contribution which may be accepted from any person including immediate family members is $1,000. A participating candidate may loan, contribute or obligate up to $1,000 of his or her own money for exploratory purposes. Any exploratory contributions received by the participating candidate in excess of $20,000 in the aggregate shall be sent to the Election Commission for deposit in the fund.
(b) Each exploratory contribution shall be acknowledged by a written receipt. Receipts for exploratory contributions of $250 or more during an election cycle shall include the contributor's name, residence and mailing address, business affiliation and occupation. Receipts for exploratory contributions of less than $250 shall include the contributor's name and the amount of the contribution, and otherwise comport with the disclosure and reporting requirements of section five-a, article eight of this chapter.
(c) An exploratory contribution from one person may not be made in the name of another person.
(d) At the beginning of each month a participating or certified candidate or his or her financial agent shall report all exploratory contributions, expenditures and obligations along with all receipts for contributions received during the prior month to the Secretary of State. Such reports shall be filed electronically: Provided, That a committee may apply for an exemption in case of hardship pursuant to subsection (c) of section five-b, article eight of this chapter. If the candidate decides not to run for office all unspent or unobligated exploratory contributions shall be sent to the State Election Commission for deposit in the fund. If the candidate decides to run for office as a nonparticipating candidate the unspent or unobligated exploratory contributions shall be used in accordance with articles eight and twelve of this chapter.