Internet Association Experiment Ties Live-Streaming With Fundraising

The association’s new experimental platform will allow political candidates to raise money for future campaigns while taking part in an online Q&A session. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers raised more than $13,000 through the platform Wednesday.

For half an hour Wednesday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) was part of what might be the most interesting political fundraising experiment on the internet.

Sitting next to Internet Association (IA) President and CEO Michael Beckerman, Rodgers (who is a member of the House GOP’s leadership) fielded questions from online users, while donors sent money directly to the candidate—while, of course, following the standard contribution limits. The approach was effective: In the single half-hour session, she raised $13,160. (Not bad.)

She proved just the test subject to take part in IA’s new fundraising platform, which is designed to boost transparency in political fundraising.

In a recent news release, Beckerman said the approach reflects the group’s roots—it was formed in 2012 with the support of innovation-minded tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Yahoo.

“Just as our member companies have done for countless industries, the Internet Association has set out to revolutionize political fundraising,” Beckerman said. “This fundamentally internet-based approach will democratize political giving—a process traditionally characterized by exclusivity and an overall lack of transparency—and convert it to a public forum that provides everyday internet voters with the ability to participate in a meaningful way.”

One early supporter of this strategy is the Center for Responsive Politics, whose executive director, Sheila Krumholz, called the approach “innovative.”

“Money by itself isn’t inherently evil, but some aspects of modern political fundraising are antidemocratic,” Krumholz stated. “If this platform leverages technology to reduce the ‘cost’ of giving, facilitates more timely disclosure, and brings more citizens into open dialogue with their representatives in Washington, it will have enhanced the democratic process.”

IA plans to do more events similar to the Rodgers one, featuring candidates from both parties whom the association publicly supports for their stances on internet-related issues.

(Youtube screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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