CM(2001)195 revised 24 April 2002
796 Meeting, 22 May 2002
10 Legal questions
10.3 Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption (GMC)
c. Draft Recommendation Rec(2002).. of the Committee of Ministers to member states on common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties and election campaigns
Document prepared by the Directorate General I (Legal Affairs)
Recommendation Rec(2002) …
of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties and election campaigns
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …
at the …th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members;
Considering that political parties are a fundamental element of democratic systems of states and are an essential tool of expression of the political will of citizens;
Considering that political parties and election campaigns funding in all States should be subject to strict rules in order to prevent and fight against the phenomenon of corruption;
Convinced that corruption represents a serious threat to the rule of law, democracy, human rights, equity and social justice, that it hinders economic development, endangers the stability of democratic institutions and undermines the moral foundations of society;
Having regard to the recommendations adopted at the 19th and 21st Conferences of European Ministers of Justice (Valetta, 1994 and Prague, 1997 respectively);
Having regard to the Programme of Action against Corruption adopted by the Committee of Ministers in 1996;
In accordance with the Final Declaration and the Plan of Action adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe at their Second Summit, held in Strasbourg on 10 and 11 October 1997;
Having regard to Resolution (97) 24 on the twenty guiding principles for the fight against corruption, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 6 November 1997, and in particular principle 15, which promotes rules for the financing of political parties and election campaigns which deter corruption;
Having regard to Recommendation 1516 (2001) on the financing of political parties, adopted on 22 May 2001 by the Parliamentary Assembly,
In the light of the conclusions of the 3rd European Conference of Specialised Services in the Fight against Corruption on the subject of Trading in Influence and Illegal Financing of Political Parties, held in Madrid, 28-30 October 1998;
Recalling in this respect the importance of the participation of non-member states in the Council of Europe’s activities against corruption and welcoming their valuable contribution to the implementation of the Programme of Action against Corruption;
Having regard to Resolution (98) 7 authorising the partial and enlarged agreement establishing the "group of states against corruption – GRECO" and Resolution (99) 5 establishing the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), which aims at improving the capacity of its members to fight corruption by following up compliance with their undertakings in this field;
Convinced that public awareness on the issues of prevention and the fight against corruption in the field of funding of political parties is essential to the good functioning of democratic institutions,
Recommends that Governments of member states adopt in their national law provisions against corruption in the funding of political parties and election campaigns, on the basis of the common rules set out in the appendix to this recommendation, - in so far as particular laws, procedures or systems that provide effective, equivalent alternatives do not already exist - and;
Instructs the "Group of States against Corruption – GRECO" to monitor the implementation of this Recommendation
Common rules against corruption in the funding of political parties
and election campaigns
I. Sources of external funding of political parties
Article 1 – Public and private support to political parties
The state and its citizens are both entitled to support political parties.
The state should provide support to political parties. State support should be limited to reasonable contributions. State support may be financial.
Objective, fair and reasonable criteria should be applied regarding the distribution of state support.
State legislation should ensure that any support from the state and citizens does not interfere with the independence of political parties.
Article 2 – Definition of donation to a political party
In providing a definition of donation to a political party, states’ legislation should take account of the fact that donation means any deliberate act, the effect of which is to bestow advantage, economic or otherwise, on a political party.
Article 3 – General principles on donations
a. States’ legislation governing donations to political parties should provide specific rules to:
– avoid conflicts of interests;
– ensure transparency of donations and avoid secret donations;
– avoid prejudice to the activities of political parties;
– ensure the independence of political parties.
b. States’ legislation should place limits on the value of donations to political parties and provide strict rules to prevent the circumvention of any maximum limit of donations.
Article 4 – Tax deductibility of donations
Fiscal legislation may allow tax deductibility of donations to political parties. Such tax deductibility should be limited.
Article 5 – Donations by legal entities
a. States should adopt more restrictive specific legislation to limit or prohibit donations from legal entities.
b. States’ legislation should limit, prohibit or otherwise regulate donations from legal entities which provide goods or services for any public administration.
c. States’ legislation should prohibit legal entities under the control of the state or of other public authorities from making donations to political parties.
Article 6 – Donations to entities connected with a political party
Rules concerning donations to political parties, with the exception of those concerning tax deductibility – referred to in Article 4 – should also apply to all entities which are related, directly or indirectly, to a political party or are otherwise under the control of a political party.
Article 7 – Donations from foreign donors
States should adopt more restrictive specific legislation to limit, prohibit or otherwise regulate donations from foreign donors.
II. Sources of funding of election candidates and representatives elected to public office
Article 8 – Application of funding rules to election candidates and elected representatives
The rules regarding funding of political parties should apply mutatis mutandis to:
- the funding of election campaigns of election candidates and to
- the funding of political activities of elected representatives.
III. Election campaign expenditure
Article 9 – Limits on expenditure
States’ legislation should require limits on expenditure on election campaigns of each political party, each list of candidates and each candidate.
Article 10 – Records of expenditure
States’ legislation should require records to be kept of all expenditure, direct or indirect, on election campaigns in respect of each political party, each list of candidates and each candidate.
Article 11 – Accounts
States’ legislation should require political parties and the entities connected with political parties mentioned in Article 6 to keep proper books and accounts. The accounts of political parties should be consolidated to include the accounts of the entities mentioned in Article 6.
Article 12 – Records of donations
a. States’ legislation should require the accounts of a political party to specify all donations received by the party including the nature and value of each donation.
b. In case of donations over a certain value, donors should be identified in the records.
Article 13 – Obligation to present and publish accounts
a. States’ legislation should require political parties to present the accounts referred to in Article 11 regularly, and at least annually, to the independent authority referred to in Article 14.
b. States’ legislation should require political parties regularly, and at least annually, to make public the accounts referred to in Article 11 or as a minimum a summary of those accounts including the information required in Article 10, as appropriate, and in Article 12.
Article 14 – Independent supervisory authority
a. States’ legislation should require that an independent authority be responsible for supervising the financing of political parties and election campaigns.
b. This authority’s duties should include supervision of the accounts of political parties and expenses of election campaigns as well as their presentation and publication.
Article 15 – Specialised personnel
States should promote the specialisation of the judiciary, police and other personnel in the fight against illegal funding of political parties and election campaigns.
Article 16 – Sanctions
States’legislation should require the infringement of rules concerning the funding of political parties and election campaigns to be subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.