By Paul Barbagallo
The campaign for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Aug. 31 that it has officially begun accepting donations by text message, joining President Obama's campaign, which launched its own program only days earlier.
The announcement follows two August rulings by Federal Election Commission that allow federal candidates, political committees, and political parties, for the first time, to collect money through text messaging campaigns.
“We recognize that people lead busy lives, but they still want to support Gov. Romney with whatever means they have,” Zac Moffatt, digital director for the Romney campaign, said in an emailed statement Aug. 31. “This technology gives our incredible supporters the ability to make a donation in seconds--not minutes--with a text message.”
Romney supporters can donate $10 by texting “GIVE” to 37377. Obama supporters can donate $10 by texting “GIVE” to 62262.
Customers who subscribe to wireless services from Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp., T-Mobile USA and U.S. Cellular will be able to donate money to either candidate.
One company that has not yet signed on to facilitating text-message contributions is AT&T Inc., the second-largest carrier in the United States by subscribers. AT&T has told BNA that it has asked the FEC to clarify one aspect of its advisory opinion on rates and rate structure; however, the company also is expected eventually to join the other carriers in offering its service to campaigns in the near future, according to the campaigns.
Though the presidential candidates are the first to take advantage of the FEC ruling, other federal electoral campaigns are expected to launch fund-raising programs as well.
Under FEC rules, however, wireless carriers have the discretion to accept proposals from some political committees and not others. The contribution limit set by the FEC is $50 per billing cycle and $200 per election cycle.
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