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Financing Democracy

Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns and the Risk of Policy Capture

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The recent debate on the role of money in politics has shed the light on the challenges of political finance regulations. What are the risks associated with the funding of political parties and election campaigns? Why are existing regulatory models still insufficient to tackle those risks? What are the links between money in politics and broader frameworks for integrity in the public sector? This report addresses these three questions and provides a Framework on Financing Democracy, designed to shape the global debate and provide policy options as well as a mapping of risks.  It also features country case studies of Canada, Chile, Estonia, France, Korea, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil and India, providing in-depth analysis of their political finance mechanisms and challenges in different institutional settings.

 

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Promoting a level playing field through balanced funding

This chapter reviews various policy options to promote a level playing field in financing democracy. Allocation of public funding and the rules for private funding continue to require special attention to ensure a level playing field for all stakeholders. To be effective, a comprehensive regulation of political finance should focus on the whole cycle including the pre-campaign phase, the campaigning period itself, and the period once elected officials take office. The chapter also highlights that certain shortcomings in the regulations are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by powerful special interests. Loans, membership fees and third-party funding can be used to circumvent the regulations of private funding.

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