Federal law lets political action committees wait weeks, even months, to reveal which candidates benefit from their cash.
But Twitter's nascent PAC, which is poised to make its first-ever federal campaign contributions, plans to disclose such donations within 48 hours — tweet-like speed, relatively speaking, company officials tell the Center for Public Integrity.
"Timely disclosure is something we could do. We figured, 'Why not?'" said Colin Crowell, Twitter's head of global public policy.
Crowell added that Twitter, Inc. #PAC intends to donate to federal candidates this election cycle. While not yet naming names, he said the PAC would aim to support candidates who, for example, support patent law changes, government surveillance reforms and strong digital privacy policies.
Is Twitter attempting to make a statement or get other PACs to follow its example?
"We just think it's the right thing to do for Twitter," Crowell said.
Twitter's PAC has raised about $95,000 — and spent less than $800 — since its creation in August 2013 and the end of June, according to Federal Election Commission records. The money came from employee contributions. Its next campaign finance filing is not required to be submitted until January.
In an update to its corporate political policies, Twitter will also publicly disclose its trade association memberships and membership costs, as well as any financial associations it has with nonprofit "social welfare" organizations, which aren't required to reveal their donors.
Some social welfare groups have spent significant amounts of money advocating for and against political candidates since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which enabled such direct political spending.
Will Twitter’s voluntary actions start a disclosure trend? “Probably not,” said David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, which supports limited campaign finance regulations.
“It’s a free country. People can say what they want,” Keating added.