We do everything else these days by text message, so why shouldn’t the political heavy-hitters be able to collect donations this way as well? This is the highly lucrative and not-yet-ready idea behind companies like Red Blue T, ArmourMedia and m-Qube that are working around the clock to bring this idea to fruition in time for the national conventions.
The idea would be that, during the Republican and Democratic national conventions, for instance, party leaders could tell viewers to grab their phones and to text a set dollar amount to “OBAMA” or “ROMNEY” as a way to grab instant cash from the American public.
While the idea is brilliantly straight-forward, the execution is not so simple. The technology companies are, at the moment, in heated talks with major mobile phone carriers like AT&T, Sprint and Verizon to figure out exactly how they would make this happen.
As one wireless company executive told POLITICO, “I don’t see this happening this election cycle, and I’d be floored if it does.” The Federal Election Commission has, however, given its nod of approval to the project.
Alan Sege, executive vice president of m-Qube said, “Everyone in the system is working on getting this up and running.”
The entire concept would work incredibly quickly, once put into place. A political contribution would be texted and would only take a few seconds to transact; it would show up on the donor’s mobile phone bill and the money would instantly be in the politician’s coffers.
Sprint spokeswoman Crystal N. Davis spoke to the potential issues with campaign contribution laws when she said,
“While no formal agreements have been reached at this time, we want to ensure this feature adheres to all federal and state campaign laws, protects the privacy of our customers, and ensures a seamless process for the carriers, mobile aggregators and donors.”
Time will tell if they get their acts together in time for the Republican convention slated for late August. We’ll be sure to get a text telling us one way or the other.