The Federal Election Commission (FEC) may approve a request to allow campaign contributions from voters’ text messages as soon as Friday, an adviser to the commission’s chairwoman said. In an FEC meeting on Thursday, attorneys with Arent Fox — the firm representing the consulting and aggregation firms asking for the ruling — appeared before the commissioners to answer questions and assuage fears of campaign finance abuse. Arent Fox submitted an advisory opinion request in May on the text donations for clients Red Blue T and ArmourMedia. M-Qube, a “merchant billing aggregator” that would be “party to these transactions,” was also included on the request, as The Hill reported at the time. A third draft of the request, discussed at Thursday’s meeting, seemed to satisfy most of the commission.
The commission concerned itself most with how cellphone numbers would be aggregated, recorded and tracked so donors and campaign committees would be able to operate within FEC regulations and restrictions — such as the personal donation limit of $2,500 to federal candidates and the $5,000 limit to political action committees. Craig Engle, council with Arent Fox, said committees have not only the responsibility but also the incentive to keep track of the incoming donations. There’s an incentive to “take mobile numbers, and hopefully continue to communicate with them repeatedly throughout the campaign to gather donations” and volunteering from donors, he said.