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Square tech adopted by Obama campaign for contributions

updated 04:45 pm EST, Mon January 30, 2012

Obama campaign takes on Square for donations

The Obama campaign has began using the wallet-free and wireless payment technology from Square for its fundraising purposes. Readers are being given to staff who work on the campaign, who can then use their Android smartphones, iPhones, and iPads to collect donations. This should make the process more streamlined, as the alternative involves filling out a form and writing a check or giving out credit card information or cash to the fundraiser.

Campaign supporters will get an instant electronic receipt in the form of a text or e-mail. Paperwork still needs to be filled out, however, as under the rules for political campaign contributions.

Square charges the same 2.75 percent per transaction as it does usually. This move could prove quite profitable for the outfit, then, as the Obama campaign raised $42 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. [via TechCrunch]

by MacNN Staff



  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Technology outpaces FEC

    I had another comment ready, but decided to not wiz on the electric fence...

    I to have to admit that something like the square reader would be great for capturing a lot of grass-roots donations. At the same time, this new form of crowd-sourced funding where volunteers go out with their own transaction machines seems like an amazing opportunity for fraud and abuse.

    Hey, swipe your card here to donate to the Obama campaign! An enterprising canvaser could net a lot of money for themselves if they linked their own account, instead.

    Likewise, a planted operative could keep swiping the same card from one "donor", and then provide evidence of the Obama campaign circumventing the individual contribution limits with a slew of smaller payments that far exceed the amount allowed.

    Before anyone scoffs, take note that this happened in the 2008 campaign, where some individuals contributed hundreds of thousands, in serial $200 transactions on the Obama website. If I recall correctly, the federal limit was only $2,300 per individual.

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