Democrats to introduce bill to prevent default recurring political donations

Democrats to introduce bill to prevent default recurring political donations
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Democrats are introducing legislation on Monday to ban political campaigns from using pre-checked boxes for recurring political donations.

The bill — spearheaded by Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol Overnight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Four senators call on Becerra to back importation of prescription drugs from Canada MORE (Minn.) and Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinBiden backs effort to include immigration in budget package Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate MORE (Ill.), the Democratic whip and Judiciary Committee chairman — comes after after the Federal Election Commission (FEC) recommended Congress pass legislation preventing campaigns from using pre-checked boxes on their websites that automatically register an individual to give recurring contributions. 

"Following the FEC’s unanimous vote, it’s clear we should take action to ban this practice and ensure contributors are fully informed. This legislation will do just that," Klobuchar said in a statement.

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Durbin argued that the pre-checked boxes "tricked contributors into recurring payments" and that the bill would prevent campaigns from "engaging in these deceptive practices."

The bill would create a new opt-in requirement so that contributors have to actively consent to the recurring donations. Political campaigns and committees would also have to tell donors how to cancel recurring donations and immediately cancel them once they receive a request.

The FEC vote and the bill followed an investigation by The New York Times that found that the practice created a spike in refunds and fraud claims linked to recurring donations to former President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE.

Some Democrats also used the pre-checked box, though the Times noted that President BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News MORE's campaign had a significantly smaller refund rate through ActBlue than Trump had through WinRed. 

In addition to Klobuchar and Durbin, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory BookerCory BookerHuman rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer MORE (D-N.J.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyHuman rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Bipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games MORE (D-Ore.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Civil rights activist Gloria Richardson dies Senate Democrats hit speedbumps with big spending plans MORE (D-Md.) and Angus KingAngus KingNew Senate bill would hurt charities and those they serve Overnight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Four senators call on Becerra to back importation of prescription drugs from Canada MORE (I-Maine) are co-sponsoring the legislation.