By Alina Selyukh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Republican presidential campaign said on Friday it was launching a system to accept campaign donations by text message.
The system, aimed at encouraging contributions from small donors to the campaign of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, will rival a similar scheme launched by Democratic President Barack Obama's team last week.
"We recognize that people lead busy lives, but they still want to support Governor Romney with whatever means they have," said Zac Moffatt, Romney campaign's digital director.
"This technology gives our incredible supporters the ability to make a donation in seconds - not minutes - with a text message."
Romney supporters in the United States will be able to donate to his campaign by texting the word GIVE to number 37377. Obama supporters can do the same by texting GIVE to 62262.
Text donations were first approved in early June and have been touted as a means of enabling smaller donors to contribute to a campaign marked by six-figure donations.
They can be made anonymously but have to be capped at $10 per text, $50 per month and $200 in total for one candidate or campaign. Donations are prohibited from foreigners, people under 18 or corporations, which could also mean corporate phone accounts.
The Obama campaign's small-donor prowess helped it set fundraising records and win the 2008 election. In this campaign it has been raising a notably larger portion of cash from small checks than Romney to help fund what is likely to be the most expensive U.S. election in history.
Analysts say the moves to secure donations by text message could amount to a revolution in a U.S. campaign finance, which has traditionally been dominated by multimillion-dollar donations.
The process of political giving via text would be similar to giving to charity: A donor would send a short message to a text code, confirm intention and eligibility, and later pay for the donation as part of the monthly cell phone bill.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by David Brunnstrom)
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