Obama campaign first to accept donations via text message

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President Barack Obama is poised to begin accepting campaign donations via text message, which could open the door to a flood of contributions from smaller donors.

Reuters reports that the Obama re-election team is currently wrapping up agreements with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA to become the first U.S. presidential campaign to accept voter donations using text-based short codes. Within the coming days, advertisements supporting Obama will include a message urging supporters to text GIVE to 62262 to donate $10 to the campaign. Obama staffers said agreements with AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and other operators are expected "in the near future."

Republican nominee Mitt Romney is expected to introduce his own short code, 466488, although the campaign has not yet made an official announcement, Reuters adds. Earlier this month, Romney first publicly announced vice presidential pick Paul Ryan via mobile app.

Political analysts believe text messaging options could galvanize contributions from everyday citizens, crediting the simplicity and spontaneity inherent in the technology. Text donations are capped at $10 per text, $50 per month and $200 in total for any one candidate or campaign; all short code-based donations are billed to the voter's monthly wireless bill. Carriers and payment processing partners can claim between 30 percent and 50 percent of all non-charitable short code payment transactions--earlier this year, the Federal Election Commission ruled operators can offer discounts to political campaigns if they are negotiated by an aggregator firm and if the discount applies to all political customers equally.

Reuters said it is unclear what percentage the Obama campaign will pay. "Every avenue of fundraising that we have costs us money," an Obama campaign official said. "We pay the most competitive rates available in the marketplace to ensure our supporters have the greatest impact with their contribution."

For more:
- read this Reuters article

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