At its next meeting on January 31, the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) will have an exciting item on its agenda that could change political fundraising for Texas campaigns. A request for an advisory opinion filed in September seeks approval for Texas PACs to accept contributions by text message. The request was filed on behalf of Harris County Republicans, a political committee using a cutting-edge smartphone app developed by The Flanagan Company, LLC to increase Republican turnout in Harris County. [Disclosure: the author is counsel to Harris County Republicans and filed the request.]
The request and the app were covered by Campaigns & Elections Magazine (article here) and other media outlets, and Houston TV station KHOU featured the story (see below). Counsel for the TEC have indicated that the request (Advisory Opinion Request 576) will likely be discussed at the TEC’s next meeting on January 31, 2013. Jerad Najvar will appear at the meeting to address any questions the Commissioners may have. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m in Capitol Extension Room E1.010, and any updates will be covered on this blog.
If the request is approved, it should permit solicitation of text contributions by not only Texas PACs, but also candidate and party committees. Texas would be just the third state to authorize political contributions by text message, after California and Maryland. The Federal Election Commission has also recently approved text contributions for federal campaigns.