US regulators approve political donations via text message

WASHINGTON, June 12: US campaigns and political groups can now receive donations through text messaging, thanks to a new ruling by federal election regulators that creates a new cash-gathering tool in this election year’s race to raise unprecedented amounts.
The Federal Election Commission yesterday gave its unanimous approval to allow candidates’ political action committees to collect contributions submitted via text messaging, a near-instant way to garner small-donor cash often viewed +as a sign of grassroots support.
Fundraisers and campaign finance reform advocates have long argued in favor of the move seen as giving small donors a chance for a bigger say in the 2012 campaign that has been marked by abundant six-figure donations to political groups known as Super PACs, or political action committees, which have no limits on spending and donations.
Similar to the way mobile users can send a text message to a specific short code to donate to a charity or a cause, they will now be able to give to a candidate or a PAC. Or they could also donate online by using their cell phone number instead of a credit card.
In both cases, the contribution will be added to the donor’s cell phone bill that month.
Of each texted contribution, the political solicitor is likely to receive about 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the total, the rest shared by the carrier and the aggregator, according to the FEC documents on the ruling.
To comply with federal political donation limits on sums given anonymously, the contributions from one donor to one PAC will be capped at 50 dollars per month, which would be monitored by the company aggregating the messaging and billing that will act as a middleman between the phone companies and political groups.
Donations will also be capped at 10 dollars per text, according to Craig Engle, a lawyer with Arent Fox LLP, who brought the new text-for-donation proposal to the FEC representing political consulting firms Red Blue T LLC and ArmourMedia Inc and corporate aggregator m-Qube Inc. —


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here