Twitter fundraising coming soon to political campaigns

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Chirpify, which has worked mainly with small business owners including independent musicians in the past, works by inviting users to sign up for an account, where they will supply their credit card information through PayPal, then allowing them to tweet the word "donate" with the candidate and amount they want to send. The company takes a 4 percent fee per contribution. 

The presidential candidates have yet to sign up for the service, so for now donations can be pledged but not actually sent to the campaigns. Chirpify is aggressively reaching out to both President Obama and Mitt Romney to sign up for their service. The amount pledged so far can be tracked at TweetElection.

The company has set up the opportunity as an alternative to super-PAC fundraising, a bid to individual donors who typically give under $250. That is a donor base the Obama campaign has tapped in the past and widely touts for their support, but of course super-PACs can give unlimited money, without immediate disclosure, and individuals cannot.

"There are hundreds of millions of dollars being raised for U.S. political campaigns every year, and an estimated 140 million Twitter users," Chirpify Chief Executive and founder Chris Teso said in a statement. "Yet until now, there was no way to directly exchange currency on Twitter."

The use of Twitter for fundraising illustrates the way technology is changing campaigns this year. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) also approved the use of text messaging to send donations to political candidates last week.