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Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 05/25/2012

Campaign donations by text message: An FEC ruling on legality could come soon

Political campaigns frequently send text messages to supporters as a way of getting the word out. One day soon, those same campaigns could use text messaging as a way of keeping the dollars rolling in.


(Pat Wellenbach - AP)

The Federal Election Commission on Thursday held a hearing on whether donations through text message should be legal.

The commissioners held off on making a ruling during Thursday’s meeting, but a decision could come when the panel meets again next month.

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns support legalizing text-message donations and on Thursday submitted statements in favor.

A ruling to legalize such donations could drastically change the fundraising landscape for 2012 and beyond, allowing campaigns to maximize their reach and potentially add millions more to their coffers through small-dollar donors.

According to the bipartisan proposal put forth by GOP consulting firm Red Blue T and Democratic firm ArmourMedia, text-message donations would be handled by a third-party firm, m-Qube, as the Post’s Dan Eggen reported earlier this month.

The limit for such donations would be $50 per cell phone per month in order to abide by the FEC’s limits for anonymous donations.

Previous efforts to legalize text-message donations ran into trouble in part because such contributions are made through donors’ cell phone accounts, making it difficult for the FEC’s 10-day reporting requirement to be met.

But proponents of the bipartisan proposal argue that the use of a third-party firm would resolve that issue.

Campaigns already typically ask supporters for feedback through text messages at campaign rallies -- but if the new plan is approved, it could mean that those same supporters will be able to translate their enthusiasm into an instant contribution.

Staff writer T.W. Farnam contributed to this report.

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By  |  12:56 PM ET, 05/25/2012

 
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