FEC Approves AT&T Bid on Text-To-Donate Rates

On Monday, the Federal Election Commission finally ruled on long awaited matter that would impact the way AT&T does business.

Some donations via text message could turn out to be more lucrative for campaigns after the Federal Election Commission approved a bid by AT&T to restructure its service rates. The commission unanimously voted to approve AT&T’s request at its meeting Thursday.

The rate structure specifically pertains to processing political contributions sent via text message.

“Wireless carriers typically take 30 to 50 percent off the top of mobile contributions—a carryover from their fees on commercial content like apps,” the folks at Campaign Insider report. “But AT&T intends to implement a new model where rates are a percentage of the contribution amount, a flat per-text message charge or some combination of the two for text donations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $15 and $20.”

“Customers who contribute via text message to political committees ‘reasonably will expect that most of their contribution is going to the political candidate or committee of their choice’ and ‘do not want a significant portion of their [contributions] siphoned off to the aggregators and wireless [service] providers,'” reads the FEC advisory opinion. “AT&T asserts that, if its wireless customers learn that AT&T and the connection aggregator are retaining a significant portion of their contributions, the customers will be dissatisfied with the transaction and will view AT&T unfavorably as a result.”