Bloomberg: FEC Debates Approving Planned App to Steer Contributions

Kenneth P. Doyle
Aug 18, 2017
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The Federal Election Commission discussed Aug. 17 but didn’t vote on a proposal from a pair of entrepreneurs for a new app that would allow users to round up the change from purchases and contribute that amount to certain Democratic congressional candidates.

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The FEC released two draft advisory opinions, both of which would approve the request from Stein and Gottlieb, but these were criticized in a comment letter filed by the nonprofit watchdog Campaign Legal Center. The CLC comment letter, written by Adav Noti, an attorney for the nonprofit who previously worked at the FEC, said the commission shouldn’t approve a plan that gives a company so much authority to pick and choose the candidates that its contribution platform would support. This provides something of great benefit to the candidates receiving the contributions, Noti said.

Noti’s comment letter asked tongue-in-cheek for FEC approval of a hypothetical donor platform to support Republicans created by “Charles and David Pepsi”—a thinly veiled reference to Koch Industries leaders Charles and David Koch, who have established a network of conservative donors. In Noti’s hypothetical, the Pepsi brothers ask the FEC to approve contribution processing by “Americans for Prospering LLC,” known by the initials AFP.

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