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Caleb Burns Discusses the Potential for Texting Political Donations

Campaigns & Elections
August 3, 2012

Election Law & Government Ethics Practice partner Caleb Burns was quoted by Campaigns & Elections in a story on efforts to allow  people to send campaign donations via text message.  Mr. Burns is representing CTIA – The Wireless Association as regulators determine the industry’s potential role in the process.

Campaigns & Elections reported that in June, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) “approved a text-to-donate proposal from m-Qube and Armour Media, but wireless carriers have since expressed a litany of concerns over compliance and eligibility and have requested clarity from the commission. For campaigns that were hoping to accept contributions via text message before November, Thursday’s FEC meeting didn’t exactly inspire confidence.”

A specific concern raised at the meeting was over how to ensure eligibility in the program was not politically motivated.  “I can see a situation where a wireless service provider only wants to take candidates polling at a high level because they’ve got capacity to pull in a higher volume of contributions,” said Mr. Burns. “You’re right, that’s a political consideration but it’s not the determinative factor.”

Commissioners asked for more detail from m-Qube and CTIA on criteria carriers would use to determine the eligibility of campaign committees.  “The carriers are still considering whether they want to get into this business at all,” said Mr. Burns.