The Federal Election Commission (FEC) voted last week to adopt an advisory opinion concerning the processing of political contributions via text message. In response to a request from AT&T, the FEC concluded that the company could establish a new rate structure for processing contributions to political committees by text message without it being considered an in-kind contribution. AT&T intends to implement a model where rates charged for processing the donation are a percentage of the contribution amount, a flat per-text message charge, or some combination of the two for text donations. According to AT&T, the rates will be “substantially less” than what the carrier charges for commercial content, which can be has much as 50% of the amount paid by the consumer. Advisory Opinion 2012-31 can be found here.
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