Money, Politics, and Transparency: Announcing the Launch of the Campaign Finance Indicators Dataset

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By Michael Moses — July 14, 2015.

MPT

Global Integrity is pleased to announce the launch of the Money, Politics and Transparency website, a cutting edge suite of tools, data, and analyses that digs into the role of money in politics all across the world.

The website houses Global Integrity’s Campaign Finance Indicators dataset, a uniquely comprehensive national-level investigative survey of political finance regulation and enforcement in 54 diverse countries. The data provide a detailed assessment of the laws that are in place to regulate campaign finance across the world, and use relevant evidence from recent electoral campaigns in each target country to evaluate how, in practice, political finance regulations are enforced at the country level.

The new MPT website gives users the power to access the data in a variety of ways. Each country scorecard is composed of 50 indicators measuring different aspects of political finance regimes, including public funding, donation and spending limits, reporting and disclosure, third party actors, and monitoring and enforcement. Website users will be able to read through individual country scorecards, and can also go through the data indicator by indicator, or section by section, comparing results across countries easily and intuitively. The original dataset, as well as Global Integrity’s preliminary analysis and findings from the project, are available for download. The Campaign Finance Indicators offer a revealing glimpse at the realities of political finance regulation and enforcement, demonstrating that:

  • Systems of public funding are often opaque or inequitably applied, and non-financial state resources are regularly abused.
  • Restrictions on contribution and expenditure are undermined by loopholes.
  • Full details on campaign contributions and expenditure are rarely publicly available.
  • Laws requiring the reporting of political finance information are inconsistently applied.
  • Third party actors are subject to very little regulation.
  • The efficacy of oversight bodies is highly restricted due to a lack of merit-based, independent leadership, capacity constraints, and deficits of regulatory authority.
  • The de facto realities of political finance often diverge from legal frameworks, highlighting how particular contexts and political traditions inform the effectiveness and needs of a regulatory system.

Work from Global Integrity’s partners on the MPT project is also available for the first time on the new website. Detailed case studies on the origin and success of political finance reform efforts, prepared by the Electoral Integrity Project as part of the forthcoming book Checkbook Elections, are posted. The Sunlight Foundation’s draft Declaration on the Openness of Political Finance, which seeks to build consensus on the key features of open and accountable political finance systems, is available on the website as well. More resources, including tools for learning about political finance and opportunities for network building, are also featured.

By providing an opportunity to kickstart country level learning, and serving as a jumping off point for in depth engagement with the granular context of political finance rules and practices, the website is an invaluable resource for reformers, advocates, and policymakers hoping to better understand and account for the role of money in politics at the country level. We encourage you to head over to www.data.moneypoliticstransparency.org to start exploring.