State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

State and local races not likely to embrace texting donations

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 27, 2012 10:12 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The Romney and Obama presidential campaigns are poised to begin accepting donations via text message, but it may be a while before state and local candidates in the commonwealth can do the same.

Aubrey Montgomery, finance director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, says a state law could be interpreted to prohibit such contributions. For a campaign to be able to accept texted donations, it needs to have an agreement with the wireless carrier. Montgomery says that could clash with Pennsylvania’s law, which bans so-called “aggregating third parties.”

"If you have a Sprint contract, whether they would consider Sprint as being a third party, who was collecting all of this money on behalf of political campaigns," Montgomery says.

Montgomery adds even if texted donations were approved by the commonwealth, the necessary contracts with wireless carriers may be too costly for most campaigns. She says for now, campaigns in Pennsylvania have to rely on e-mail fundraising as the best way to collect money at the grass roots level.

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