Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Klobuchar proposes banning previously checked boxes in political donations

Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, chair of the Senate Rules Committee, is set to introduce legislation on Monday to ban political campaigns from guiding online donors into recurring donations by default, a practice that has led supporters to make unexpected gifts Woo criticized for that which sometimes total thousands of dollars.

The planned introduction of the bill follows a bipartisan recommendation from the Federal Election Commission that Congress act to rein in the practice of prechecking boxes that automatically list donors to donate repeatedly. FEC. Voted unanimously, 6-0, to recommend the change, after a New York Times investigation into the practice revealed that former President Donald J. Refunds and fraud claims from Trump’s contributors increased.

Ms. Klobuchar, who heads the rules committee overseeing the administration of federal elections, is calling the bill the RECUR Act to “protect every contributor from unwanted iterations”. For now, he has only Democratic co-sponsors, including Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in Senate leadership and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But Ms. Klobuchar said she hoped she could woo Republican co-sponsors, as three Republican commissioners from the FEC joined the Democrats and recommended a ban on the practice – a rare compromise of agreement in an agency Moment which is often defined by a biased gridlock.

“We have to make sure that we are encouraging those who can contribute only a small amount to make their voices heard but have not taken advantage of it,” Ms. Klobuchar said in an interview.

In a statement, Mr Durbin said he was “proud” to present the bill with Ms. Klobuchar. “In a bipartisan recommendation, the Federal Election Commission urged Congress to take action to curb donation practices – such as those employed by the Trump campaign – that deceive contributors to recurring payments,” he said.

The Times investigation found that Mr. Trump’s political campaign, in part due to a lack of cash, caused his online contributors to drop extra donations every week last fall, often by prechecking a box to inadvertently become a repeat donor. Was inspired by; His requests also included a second pre-checked box called a “money bomb”. Over time, the campaign added text, sometimes in bold or all-cap type, that obscured the opt-out language. Soon, banks and credit card companies experienced a flood of fraud complaints.

All told, the Trump operation with the Republican Party returned $ 122.7 million to donors who gave through the online processing site WinRed – raising more than 10 percent of each dollar. In contrast, the online refund rate for President Biden’s campaign with the party was 2.2 percent on the same Democratic processing site ActBlue.

While the practice of prechecking boxes is currently more common among Republicans, Democrats have used the strategy before. Some major Democratic Party committees continue to deploy it. And Mr. Trump has continued the practice even after his presidency.

Ms. Klobuchar’s law would require that all political committees receive “affirmative consent” to collect donations, and it explicitly states that previously checked boxes do not meet that requirement.

“If you have any experience and you see it, you know it’s just pure fraud,” Ms. Klobuchar said of the prechecking practice, “and it’s nothing that should be allowed to go forward.”

Ms Klobuchar said the FEC’s unanimous vote was “very helpful” in creating momentum for her legislation, which is a stand-alone two-page bill but could be included in other laws related to the election. Democrats are currently pushing legislation that would implement a major overhaul of elections, but the prospects of that bill remain unclear.

Klobuchar proposes banning previously checked boxes in political donations
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