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As Ads with Mystery Donors Rush Into Politics, Searching Their Wake for Clues

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, October 10 2012

The Sunlight Foundation* has launched Political Ad Sleuth, a project to track and help contribute to a database detailing money spent on political ads this election year.

The initial source of the documents in the database comes from around 200 local stations' "political files" — tranches, mandated by the Federal Communications Commission, of data on all the political ads bought at each station and at what price. Those 200 stations in the 50 largest television markets in the country were required to hand over those datasets beginning earlier this year to be posted online.

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Text Message Donations Might Become a Viable Option for More Campaigns

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, September 7 2012

In 2008, campaigns turned to SMS to ask for votes. In 2012, will they ask for money? Photo: Cazimiro / Flickr

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:Recent action at the Federal Election Commission could make collecting donations via text message a more realistic proposition for campaigns. The two presidential campaigns are already able to collect donations from clients of several cellphone carriers by having them text a shortcode put to use by their election effort. Now, new FEC opinions and requests for opinions seem to be paving the way for more campaigns to get in on the action. Read More

A Step Forward for Political SMS Donations

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, August 17 2012

Efforts to make text-messaging donations to political campaigns a reality took a significant step forward this week when the Federal Election Commission clarified its view on some of the key questions wireless carriers wanted to clarify before doing business in politics.Both campaigns and the carriers have been hesitating to roll out donations by text message even though the commission gave the green light in June because the initial opinion had not delineated responsibility for staying compliant with regulations as clearly as the wireless carriers would have liked.

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How Political Donations by Text Message Might Work

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 8 2012

The Federal Election Commission is expected today or Monday to release an advisory opinion about a company that proposes to collect political donations by text message, something that campaigns have long hoped to be able to accomplish. By all accounts, the FEC is on the verge of approving political donations via text. Read More

U.S. Senate Could Save Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars If It Files Campaign Finance Reports Electronically, Says The FEC

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, February 17 2012

One little-noted item in President Obama's budget proposal this week was a recommendation to require U.S. senators to file their campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission electronically. The FEC estimates that the switch from paper to bits would save it $430,000 annually. Read More

Quote of the Day: 'the Real Players' in Politics

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 3 2011

There was a sense that the rules on the books applied only to the naive and that the real ‘players’ worked with a different system. — Bob Biersack, a pioneer in electronic record-keeping for campaign finance ... Read More