Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaks to guests gathered for a campaign meeting on the campus of Case Western Reserve University on Aug. 27 in Cleveland. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — After some months of negotiations, Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign reached agreement with the Democratic National Committee on Thursday on a joint fundraising agreement that will allow Clinton to help raise funds for the national party for use in the general election.

The agreement is an important step in preparing for what Democrats expect will be a fiercely competitive and costly general election in 2016. It allows Clinton to raise money for the national party as well as state parties in all 50 states and begin building a nest egg for next year.

The absence of the agreement had become a concern among some Democrats that they were falling behind in their preparations.

"In the face of unlimited soft money donations from billionaires funding the Republicans, Democrats will need a strong effort to counter and we are glad for the opportunity to work with the DNC on this," Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, said in a statement.

The money raised jointly by the Clinton campaign and the DNC will be available to whoever the nominee is.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement that, with the agreement, "We are building the organization we will need now to make sure that whoever our nominee is, they are in the best possible position to win next November."

In addition to the agreement between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, the campaign also has reached similar agreements with state Democratic parties in Mississippi, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin. The New York Times first reported on the four state agreements this week.

One Democratic strategist said that one thing that held up the agreement was disagreement between the campaign and the DNC over control of the general election account and how it would be spent.

A Clinton campaign official denied that was the case, saying the negotiations were drawn out over "fine print." The official said the goal was to reach agreement with the DNC at the time of the party's summer meeting, which is ongoing in Minneapolis, in the hope that it would spur more states to come aboard.

The DNC has come under criticism from the campaigns of former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for taking steps they believe favor Clinton, especially in scheduling sanctioned debates.

A DNC official said the national party hopes to sign similar joint fundraising agreements with other Democratic campaigns.