Over the past 15 years, International IDEA has developed an extensive body of knowledge and resources on money in politics. We aim to give money a more positive role in politics by building the institutional capacity of governments, political parties and oversight agencies to regulate political finance and reduce corruption.
To do this, we take a three-pronged approach:
- Effective design and oversight. We support the actors responsible for the design and oversight of political finance laws. This includes supporting oversight agencies in monitoring the threats posed by illicit sources of money and designing strategies for their prevention and mitigation. We also review political finance legal frameworks.
- Compliance. We work with political parties and other actors who must comply with the political finance regulations.
- Transparency. We support efforts to increase the transparency of the information that is produced as a result of these laws and regulations. This work relates to a broader trend of authorities providing open data to the public and empowering citizens to hold those in power to account
Our best-known publication on the subject, Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns: A Handbook on Political Finance, addresses the problems of money in politics by analyzing political finance regulations around the world and providing guidance for reform.
You can also read about the influence of money in politics in Chapter Five of our 2017 publication, The Global State of Democracy: Exploring Democracy’s Resilience. The chapter addresses unequal access to funding in political competitions; how political finances can serve as a conduit for corruption and policy capture; and how money affects public trust in (and the legitimacy of) politics. It also provides policy recommendations for governments, political parties, civil society and the media and regional organizations to address these challenges.
More broadly, our Money in Politics initiative is broken down into the following working components:
Level Up: Political Finance with Integrity
The Level Up project aims to improve political finance regulatory frameworks in Moldova, Mongolia and Paraguay. Together, the partners are working to level the playing field, particularly for women and youth, and to protect public policy from the undue influence of money in politics. This two-year project, which is co-funded by the European Union, focuses on how these regulations could better empower women and young politicians; and how they can protect the integrity of public policy making from the influence exerted by money in politics. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is the project’s managing organization and works together with three other implementing partners: The Centre for Continued Electoral Training (CCET) in Moldova, Open Society Forum in Mongolia and Semillas para la Democracia in Paraguay. These four organizations have an established track record as impartial and honest brokers of expertise on political finance. Learn more about the activities of Level Up.
- Integrity-enhanced regulatory frameworks. We supply decision-makers with knowledge about the design of enforceable, integrity-focused regulatory systems for money in politics.
- Illicit political finance originating from organized crime. We inform policy influencers about the most innovative policy options to combat illicit political finance, and give oversight actors the tools to assess illicit political finance threats and design prevention and mitigation strategies.
- Digital reporting and disclosure. We build the capacity of political finance oversight agencies to design and implement online political finance reporting and disclosure systems and train civil society in using the data. This aims to address the lack of transparency surrounding political party and election finance, to promote adherence to the rules and thereby strengthen the integrity of, and trust in, politics by the general public and political parties themselves. See our publication, Digital Solutions for Political Finance Reporting and Disclosure: A Practical Guide.
- Internal party financial management. We assist political parties to develop sound fundraising and financial management strategies.
- Influencing money in politics agenda. We enrich the global debate on money in politics through a range of new research and analysis, as well as advocacy efforts.
- Global data. We provide global comparative data on political finance regulations through our Political Finance Database.
- Public finance and women’s participation. We supply regulators, practitioners and political parties with knowledge about public funding-based strategies for women’s political participation, building on research and policy recommendations on the interplay between political finance regulatory frameworks and women’s representation.