Text-to-donate on FEC's agenda for next week

The Federal Election Commission will discuss the text-to-donate reporting requirements of campaign committees, aggregators and wireless carriers, at its August 2 open meeting.

An advisory opinion request submitted earlier this month asked the FEC to shed more light on its recent text-to-donate ruling, which said candidates can accept contributions via text message. The request came from aggregator M-Qube, political advertising firm Armour Media and the campaign committee of Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.).

Discussion of a draft advisory opinion is on the committee’s agenda for next week, but the agenda notes that it’s “[f]or discussion only” and that no vote will occur on August 2.

Rep. Cooper’s inclusion in the AOR was intended to expedite the process. His August 2 primary, which falls within 60 days of the request’s submission, necessitates an FEC response within 20 days—per commission rules.

Since the FEC’s June ruling, the wireless industry has expressed concerns over how the text-to-donate process would work. Wireless carriers want to ensure that the responsibility of determining ineligible contributions remains with political committees.

Some in the campaign world are still hopeful the issues surrounding text-to-donate will be resolved in time for campaigns to make use of it ahead of this November. But even once wireless carriers are on board, it could take another two to three months before campaigns actually receive the short codes needed to accept text donations. 

“As soon as the carriers decide to hop on board, hopefully prior to the November election, the future of donations-by-text is bright,” Republican online strategist Vincent Harris recently told C&E. “This is a beneficial platform for political donations because it is easy to use, quick and cutting edge.”

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