WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – An Internet service company offering users the opportunity to browse an array of candidates and donate on site, instead of going to a candidate’s individual website to donate, has had its request approved by the Federal Election Commission.
As previously reported, in June Crowdpac sought approval from the FEC to begin collecting an eight percent fee for routing donations to the nation’s political candidates.
The FEC issued its opinion on Thursday, finding that:
-Crowdpac’s services would not result in impermissible contributions by Crowdpac to candidate committees;
-Crowdpac may permit its users to earmark contributions for eventual nominees or prospective candidates;
-Crowdpac may permit candidates to provide video content for Crowdpac candidate pages; and
-Crowdpac may use data derived from Commission reports to display aggregated campaign finance data about candidates.
In its request for an advisory opinion, Crowdpac stated the company “was founded on the principle that individual campaign contributors are not heard enough in the political process at the expense of special interests and extreme voices that have seized an outsized role in the financing of federal elections.”
In hopes of strengthening those purported drowned voices, Crowdpac seeks to connect users with candidates via its website, crowdpac.com.
Surfers can create their own “political profile” and search for candidates. Each Crowdpac candidate page, which can be updated by the candidate, will contain a link allowing the user to contribute, FEC records show.
The company has partnered with Democracy Engine to ensure all donations conform to FEC regulations and are routed to the proper place.
The company will assess an eight percent fee for each surfer’s donation.
“Every aspect of Crowdpac’s business plan is consistent with … (FEC) regulations,” the company’s request states. “Therefore, the (FEC) should confirm that Crowdpac’s planned operations are consistent with federal campaign finance law.”
The parties contend neither Crowdpac nor Democracy Engine will be contractually engaged with candidate committees.
Attorneys Ben Ginsberg and Marc Elias represent Crowdpac.
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