IFES Presents Political Finance Reform Priorities
The 2015 Law on political finance and the establishment of the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) gave rise to expectations of higher levels of transparency and accountability in political finance. Yet, the 2019 elections indicated that procedures and control measures put in place had been insufficient to ensure transparency and minimize the dependency of political parties on big corporate donors. Concurrently, the quality of NAPC’s work and its political independence came into question.
The reboot of the NAPC actualizes the need for identifying key priorities of political finance reform. In light of this, IFES in cooperation with prominent Ukrainian civil society organizations, including Center of Policy and Legal Reform (CPLR), Chesno Civic Movement and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), prepared an analytical paper that outlines key barriers for an effective implementation of political finance reform and the measures needed to remove these barriers.
The authors of the paper outline legislative efforts needed and suggest the creation of a working group with representatives of NAPC, the Central Election Commission (CEC), political parties, civil society organizations (CSOs) and international experts to facilitate meaningful and inclusive discussion of legislative initiatives in the area of political finance reform. Political reform priorities, among others, include the following:
- Restoring the right of non-parliamentary parties to receive public funding and consider making their share of the total public funding bigger than for parliamentary parties.
- Limiting the annual ceiling on donations from persons and companies and ensuring the amount correlates with their respective income in the given period.
- Legally obliging third parties to inform about their intention to make donations to a party.
- Allowing parties to use public funding for election-related activities and at the same time abolishing reimbursement of campaign expenditures to parties.
- Defining an exhaustive list of items on which parties cannot spend public funding.
- Defining the topics for an independent external audit of parties’ financial reporting
- Giving the NAPC real time access to registers and databases necessary for an effective oversight.
- Introducing restricted rights to contest elections for parties that systematically violate the laws governing political parties especially if they fail to submit financial reports.
- Simplifying the procedure for drawing up administrative protocols for campaign finance violations and strengthening the capacity of law enforcement to investigate criminal cases
- Introducing effective, proportional and dissuasive sanctions for campaign finance violations and giving NAPC representatives participant status in relevant court cases.
The paper reminds about the important role of civil society and investigative journalists in achieving transparency and greater accountability in political finance and ends with a call for regular consultations and effective cooperation between them and the NAPC to achieve these shared goals.
Read the full analysis of IFES Political Finance Reform Priorities here.