We've written in the past about the prospect of text-2-donate campaigns for this year's Federal elections in the US - back in June the FEC (Federal Election Commission) approved of the plan, but then a few weeks later that decision was thrown into doubt. Although the FEC had given the green light, the nation's major wireless carriers balked. As we noted then:
But the wireless carriers who would oversee the donations-by-text service - including the four U.S. giants Sprint Nextel Corp, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA - have yet to get on board with the plan.
The carriers - who account for about 90 percent of the more than 330 million wireless subscriptions in the United States - are worried about an array of liability and regulatory issues they could face in handling contributions to presidential and congressional candidates.
The carriers are asking the FEC for more guidance on how they should implement a donations-by-text program, according to four industry sources.
One sticking point is that the carriers want to make sure they will not be held liable for determining donors' eligibility to contribute to a campaign, industry sources said.
Reuters now has word that the FEC has assuaged the carriers - so it looks like the program is a go:
Americans moved a step closer to being able to make campaign contributions by text message on Wednesday when the Federal Election Commission approved protections sought by wireless carriers over fraud and profitability.
The FEC ruled that wireless carriers would have no responsibility for possible fraudulent campaign donations and could refuse text-donation services to campaigns if they are not deemed commercially viable.
"Barring some unforeseen issue I think this increases the likelihood that text donations in some form will be used this year," said Jan Baran, a prominent campaign finance lawyer representing carriers.