The campaigns for President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have both said they’ll begin taking contributions via text message.
But it may be years before Pennsylvanians can text donations to a favored state lawmaker or gubernatorial candidate.
Aubrey Montgomery, finance director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, says a state law could be interpreted to prohibit such contributions.
For a campaign to be able to accept texted donations, it needs to have an agreement with the wireless carrier.
Montgomery says that could clash with Pennsylvania’s law, which bans “aggregating third parties.”
Montgomery says even if texted donations were approved by the commonwealth, the necessary contracts with wireless carriers may be too costly for most campaigns.
And campaigns trying to accept text donation face other logistical dilemmas, Montgomery says.
She says they would have to ensure donations aren’t coming from minors, or people who text from cell phones they don’t pay for — such as a corporate account.
For now, she said, campaigns in Pennsylvania have to rely on e-mail fundraising as the best way to collect money at the grass-roots level.