Dems Introduce Legislation to Ban Pre-Checked Recurring Donation Boxes

This week, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight over federal elections and campaign finance law, and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation to ban political campaigns from using pre-checked recurring donation boxes.

The legislation follows the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) unanimous, bipartisan vote recommending that Congress ban political campaigns from automatically opting donors into recurring contributions through pre-checked boxes.

“As we work to reform our campaign finance system, we must ensure that people are empowered to make their voices heard — but that will only happen if Americans trust that campaigns aren’t taking advantage of them through tactics like pre-checked recurring donation boxes,” said Klobuchar. “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.”

“In a bipartisan recommendation, the Federal Election Commission urged Congress to take action to stop donation practices — egregiously employed by the Trump campaign — that tricked contributors into recurring payments. I’m proud to introduce this bill with Sen. Klobuchar to prevent future campaigns of any political party from engaging in these deceptive practices by banning the use of convoluted, pre-checked boxes to trigger recurring contributions,” said Durbin.

The FEC voted unanimously to recommend that Congress bar political campaigns from guiding donors by default into recurring contributions through prechecked boxes earlier this month.

A New York Times investigation revealed that former President Donald Trump‘s campaign used pre-checked recurring donation boxes in 2020. The campaign ended up having to refund more than $122 million to supporters.

This legislation would create a new opt-in requirement for contributors to affirmatively consent to recurring charges. It would also require political committees or campaigns to inform contributors about how to cancel recurring contributions and to cancel recurring contributions immediately upon request. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Angus King (I-ME), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

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