June 12, 2012 •
Texting Political Contributions Approved by FEC
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has issued an advisory opinion approving text messaging of political contributions in federal elections.
Political and media consulting firms Red Blue T LLC and AnnourMedia, Inc., along with m-Qube, Inc, a merchant billing service provider, requested approval from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to use text messaging to raise funds for political committees.
In AO 2012-17, the commission concluded the proposed plan made to use the merchant billing service as intended is consistent with reporting requirements, conforms to the prohibition on corporate contributions, complies with forwarding requirements when making factored payments, and satisfies the segregation requirement for commercial vendors processing the contributions.
The proposal envisions two methods for the use of text messaging to make contributions:
In the first method, a wireless user would text a pre-determined message to a common short code registered to a political committee. A text message response sent by the merchant to the user would then require the user to respond with his or her own text message to confirm the user’s intent to engage in the transaction and certify the user’s eligibility to make a contribution.
With the second method, a user would enter his or her mobile phone number on a political committee’s website. Before submitting the phone number, the user will be required to certify his or her eligibility to make a contribution. After the user makes the certification and submits the phone number, the user will receive a text message from the merchant that includes a PIN. The user will enter the PIN on the political committee’s website to confirm the transaction.
No mobile phone number can be billed more than $50 per month for contributions to any one political committee.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.