Senate

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 Klobuchar (Minn.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (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.

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 Trump.

Some Democrats also used the pre-checked box, though the Times noted that President Biden’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 Booker (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Angus King (I-Maine) are co-sponsoring the legislation.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Angus King automatic Chris Van Hollen Cory Booker Dick Durbin Donald Trump FEC Jeff Merkley Joe Biden Political contributions

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