Opening Government: Campaign Finance
Contributors: Transparency International USA and the Transparency and Accountability Initiative
Around the world, political financing is increasing at the forefront of public debate. The rapid growth of democracy around the world since the early 1990s has highlighted the need for stronger regulation and reform to prevent the negative influence of money in electoral politics.
Transparency of political party and campaign contributions is essential to protecting the integrity of democratic processes and ensuring fair elections. Laws requiring the public disclosure of independent political party and campaign contributions ensure that individuals, organizations, interest groups and corporations do not unduly influence a country’s elections or political leadership. Measures addressed at political party/campaign finance reform are often met with staunch resistance from corporations and other organizations that use wealth to influence political parties and elections, and from the political leaders that rely on this wealth. Even when campaign finance laws are passed, they are often not rigorously policed or enforced due to weak legal frameworks, under-resourced regulators and/or lack of capacity. Political leaders and parties independent contributors and regulators all have a critical role to play in addressing these weaknesses and making good faith efforts to improve transparency in political party and electoral campaign financing.