Campaign Donations via Text May be on the Horizon

It doesn’t happen often but sometimes the boys meet on the  political battlefield with white flags hoisted and agree — not agree to disagree, but actually agree — that something is a good idea. From The Wall Street Journal:

“Campaign finance policy debates are marked by strong differences of opinion,” said President Obama’s election lawyer Robert Bauer in a letter to the FEC Thursday. “But agreement seems widespread on the created uses of emerging technology.”

That opinion is shared by Romney campaign attorney Ben Ginsberg. “Like credit cards and the Internet before, the time to permit contributions via text has come,” Mr. Ginsberg wrote in his own letter to the FEC. He added that “permitting texting of political contributions will open up a new and highly accessible opportunity for citizens to support the candidates and political committees of their choice.”

Here at CCP, we’ll be watching the comment period closely leading up to July when the FEC will consider a decision. From a First Amendment perspective, we support anything that facilitates more active involvement in the election process, and there’s been some evidence to suggest that most people have cell phones, even if they’re not wired otherwise. This can only enhance public involvement in the representative democracy. However, on the flip side, we do have a few concerns regarding ensuring anonymous donations are made only once, and that the message of text donations is evangelized to the public at large and not just select groups. The conjunction of the internet age and free speech in elections has taken an exciting new turn.



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