Source: The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON -- Giving money to politicians is about to get a little easier.
The Federal Election Commission unanimously approved a proposal to allow campaigns to accept donations via text message, helping candidates solicit spontaneous donations from supporters.
Many campaigns already allow supporters to donate via smartphones, but those contributions are routed over the internet and require contact and billing information. The new proposal will allow campaign supporters to quickly text small-dollar donations that would be deducted from their monthly cell phone bills.
Under the plan that got the commission's nod Monday, an aggregating company would process the donations and make sure no phone number sends a campaign more than $50. Federal election rules set a $50 limit on anonymous campaign donations.
The aggregator would forward between 50 percent and 70 percent of the donation to the campaign within 10 days to comply with federal campaign-finance rules. The rest of the money would be split between the aggregator and wireless carriers as processing fees.
Both President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns have said they would be interested in accepting donations via text message. Currently, only state and local candidates in Maryland and California can accept texted donations. There has been little adoption by candidates in those states in the year or so since state officials changed state election rules.
Federal election officials rejected a similar plan proposed by the wireless industry two years ago because of concerns it didn't satisfy campaign-finance rules, including the requirement that donations be sent to campaigns within a few weeks. The new proposal was crafted to alleviate such concerns.
Read More: Texting approved for political donations