In June, the FEC approved a process for making text message political contributions limited to $50 per month. In August, the FEC clarified the compliance responsibilities related to these small, anonymous text message contributions. Now, just three weeks later, the FEC has approved a process for making text message contributions that exceed $50 per month and $200 per calendar year or election cycle. And for less start-up costs.
As we noted in an earlier post on the request leading to this Advisory Opinion, Revolution Messaging proposed a process that requires text message contributors to fill out a webform with identifying information before they are allowed to exceed the $50 “anonymous” threshold. The company will also provide political committees the ability to keep track of the amounts contributed by particular cell phone numbers (in real time) so that the committees can comply with the requirement to disclose certain information about individuals who contribute more than $200 per calendar year or election cycle.
The FEC also approved Revolution Messaging’s request to allow political committees to share text message numbers (“short codes”) for contributions, which can be expensive to obtain. Individuals contributing to political committees with a shared text message number must enter a unique keyword tied to a specific committee so that funds make their way to the appropriate account.
This Advisory Opinion will have the effect of expanding the impact of text message contributions in two ways. First, contributors will be permitted to make contributions in higher amounts. Second, sharing text message numbers will make the process less expensive and more accessible to smaller campaigns.