AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile balk at campaign contributions by text

The four top nationwide wireless operators are concerned about liability issues stemming from a proposal by the Federal Election Commission that would allow consumers to make campaign donations via text messaging.

According to Reuters, wireless carriers--including Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA--are worried about liability issues they may face should this plan be implemented. Unidentified sources who spoke to Reuters said that the operators are concerned about being held liable for determining a donors' eligibility to contribute to a campaign.

Sources said wireless trade association CTIA has asked the FEC for more information about the amount of liability and control wireless operators would have if they do offer the donation via text service, but that letter has so far not been made public. CTIA did not immediately respond to a request for more details.

It isn't clear if the new text donation service will be ready for the 2012 campaign. Many groups are bullish on text donations because they allow for small donations to be made easily and quickly. According to the FEC proposal, text donations would be capped at $10 per text and $50 per month. A number of nonprofit groups such as the Red Cross already use texting for donations.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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