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Financing Democracy

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

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.

Published on February 04, 2016Also available in: French

In series:OECD Public Governance Reviewsview more titles

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword and Acknowledgements
Executive summary
Funding of political parties and election campaigns, risks of policy capture and policy options5 chapters available
Addressing the risks of policy capture
Promoting a level playing field through balanced funding
Increasing transparency and accountability through disclosure of political party and election-campaign funding
Fostering a culture of integrity among political parties, public officials and donors
Ensuring compliance with political finance regulations
Country case studies9 chapters available
Canada
Chile
Estonia
France
Korea
Mexico
United Kingdom
Brazil
India
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Main findings

Finance is a necessary component of the democratic process. It enables the expression of political support, and competition in elections. However, money may be a means for powerful narrow interests to exercise undue influence, resulting in inadequate policies that go against the public interest.
Current funding rules need attention to ensure a level playing field for all democratic actors. While many countries have adopted online technologies to support proactive disclosure, there remains is a need for more efficient and independent oversight and enforcement.
Political finance regulations are ineffective in isolation. They need to be part of an overall integrity framework that includes the management of conflict of interest and lobbying.