Electoral campaign financing

The manner of financing the activity of political parties is key to curb the political corruption. By accepting – often covertly – significant gifts from pressure groups or companies, parties become indebted to their donors and they pay off their debts later in the Parliament or in office, adopting laws or making decisions that favor donors at the expense of the society. Although since 2000 a rather restrictive election campaign financing law has been in effect in Poland, the dominant opinion is that this law is being violated. Propositions are made to change the existing law radically and return to the once criticized solutions from 1990s, which allowed for example for financing the political parties by business and interest groups.

In 2005-2006 we conducted first monitoring of finances of presidential election campaign in Poland. A report from this monitoring, published in 2006, showed an urgent need to amend the act on election of the President of Polish Republic. In the effect, together with the Institute of Public Affairs we decided to undertake activities aimed to amend the electoral campaign finance law. In our opinion the current regulations of presidential election campaign finances are highly inefficient and full of loopholes that easily allow to conceal irregularities in finances of electoral committees. Also the state supervision of these finances is insufficient.

Monitoring presidential election campaign finance 2005-2006

The aim of the monitoring was to scrutinize the sources of income and expenses of the electoral committees of the candidates running for the office of the President of Polish Republic in 2005. In the framework of the project we analyzed substantial donations and small gifts collected in public canvassing by the election committees as well as their expenses for promotion, ads, media campaign, electoral meetings and picnics and other election-related activities. After the election we checked the financial reports submitted by electoral committees to the State Electoral Commission.

The monitoring in form of participatory observation was performed by the Foundation in cooperation with Institute of Public Affairs and 25 local teams of trained volunteers who monitored local media campaign and electoral meetings of the candidates. In May 2006, the project was summed up with a conference presenting the report from the monitoring (see:
Presidential Elections 2005 — Monitoring of Electoral Campaign Expenses English summary [PDF 66 KB]).

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