State panel allows campaign contributions by text message


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The ability to contribute to your favorite California political candidates will soon be just a text message away, after the state’s ethics agency took a step Thursday to bring campaigning into the 21st century.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission voted to allow contributions by text message as long as the candidates report the identity and address of those giving more than $100. The new regulation will take effect in about 30 days, and then campaigns and phone-plan carriers will have to take action to set up the contributing-by-texting systems.

Commission Chairwoman Ann Ravel envisions Californians using text messaging mostly to give small contributions; those under $25 do not require detailed information to be recorded on the giver.


‘The purpose of the FPPC is to restore confidence in the government process,’ Ravel said. ‘One of the ways we have done it in the past is to regulate the corrupting influence of money. This is the other side of that coin, which is allowing lots of individual, small contributors to contribute because it would have the impact of balancing out the influence of big money.’

The new regulation was welcomed by Phillip Ung, a policy advocate for California Common Cause, who agreed that it will mean more ‘small-donor contributions from everyday voters.’

‘We will work with the commission to ensure the program is not gamed by those of the political establishment or used illegally,’ Ung said.

--Patrick McGreevy