Suspicious campaign funding

The editorial ‘Funding expensive campaigns’ (April 10) raised a very important issue and shed light on something that is, perhaps, not being given its due attention.

Electoral campaigns are costly and politicians are tempted to spend much more than the limits allow them to.

Concerning electoral campaigns, both on a party and individual level, the issue that most raises suspicions is not the campaigning but the provenance of the funds.

Although political leaders, donors and some legal minds would argue that there is nothing illegal behind the idea of giving and receiving campaign contributions, the contrary might be true.

Small and large contributions constitute representations of political corruption because they are given for specific purposes, either ideological or personal, notwithstanding regulations imposing ceilings on election expenses and on the amount of money that parties or candidates can raise in each election or regulations that make the public disclosure of campaign expenditures compulsory.

The subsidiary benefits accruing to private donors, organised businesses and even illegal organisations once the politicians have come into office have rarely been considered. As an increasing number of scandals have raised suspicions about recent elections, more attention must be paid to this issue.

During elections, substantial monetary and non-monetary resources are mobilised for the funding of political campaigns. By and large, campaign financing is considered non-interested money. Hidden interests do, however, attempt to influence political settings with their contributions.

Job appointments, favourable legislation and regulations, contract awards and different kinds of compensation are all delivered in return for the financial support provided.

Therefore, what creates suspicion about campaign financing is not only its pervasive hidden intentions but also the subsequent exchange of favours or reciprocities with elected candidates.

In a sense, electoral campaign financing creates asymmetric relationships of dependence where one party feels obliged to reciprocate and, as such, it can be assumed that campaign financing can turn into an illegal activity when the contributions are given with hidden intentions.

One can legitimately argue that the exchange of these types of favours is nothing more than a ‘legalised bribe’ or an illegal alternative method of eliciting a benevolent response from a power holder.

Long-term considerations of the impact of suspicious campaign financing must be used to validate the idea of legality. Campaign financing may be legal but its consequences can lead to unlawful practices.


Indispensable mothers

Photo: Shutterstock.comPhoto:

Mother’s Day was celebrated on Sunday.

In his general audience speech of January 7, 2015, Pope Francis said: “A society without mothers would be a dehumanised society, for mothers are always, even in the worst moments, witnesses of tenderness, dedication and moral strength…

“Dearest mothers, thank you, thank you for what you are in your family and for what you give to the Church and the world.”


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