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FEC calls for ban on default recurring donation boxes

FEC calls for ban on default recurring donation boxes
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The Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Thursday recommended that Congress ban political campaigns from using pre-checked boxes on their websites that would automatically register donors to give recurring contributions.

The FEC recommendation came in the form of a unanimous vote from the six-member body, which is divided evenly between Republican and Democratic commissioners. The FEC said Congress should amend current law to mandate “affirmative consent” before donors are enrolled in a recurring contribution program. 

“The Commission’s experience strongly suggests that many contributors are unaware of the ‘pre-checked’ boxes and are surprised by the already completed transactions appearing on account statements,” the FEC said in its recommendation.

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The recommendation follows a New York Times investigation that found that former President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE's campaign in 2020 broadly utilized pre-checked recurring donations boxes. The campaign ultimately had to refund more than $122 million to online supporters.

Both parties have used pre-checked recurring donations boxes, with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee using them as well. 

The FCC’s recommendation has no force of law, a reflection of the agency's inability to unilaterally change election laws.