Regulation of Text Message Contributions

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Effective Date: 
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

On December 11, 2014, the Board voted to adopt a set of rules. These rules implement Local
Law 116 of 2013, which amended the New York City Administrative Code to permit candidates
running for offices covered by the Campaign Finance Act (“Act”) to accept contributions via text
message, and made such contributions matchable with public funds. The rules establish
minimum requirements for receiving text message contributions so that the Board can evaluate
compliance with the Act and Board Rules and eligibility for public funds. Specifically, these
rules:
• establish that public funds will not be used to match text message contributions until after
those contributions are paid via the contributor’s phone bill and delivered by a mobile
fundraising vendor to a candidate’s authorized committee;
• establish record keeping requirements for text message contributions, including records
relating to the mobile fundraising vendor, the contributor, and the registered user of the
mobile device used to make the contribution; and
• require a contributor to certify that he or she is the registered user of the phone and that
the contribution will be made from his or her personal funds.
Because the Board cannot anticipate every requirement that may apply to text message
contributions, the Board will also update training materials and other published guidance to assist
candidates in ensuring that their receipt of text message contributions from contributors via
mobile fundraising complies with all requirements of the Act and Board Rules. For example, if a
candidate receives aggregate contributions, whether by text message or other means, totaling
more than $99 from a contributor during an election cycle, the candidate will have to solicit
employment information to comply with section 3-03(c)(4)-(6) of the Board rules. Similarly, if a
candidate receives aggregate contributions, whether by text message or other means, from a
contributor over an election cycle that reach the “doing business” limits, a candidate will be
required to inquire whether the contributor is doing business with New York City in accordance
with section 3-703(1-b) of the City Administrative Code. These and other similar issues will be
addressed in training materials.