Are political contributions regulated?

Bribery & Corruption

Australia Small Flag Australia

Contributions or gifts to political parties or associated entities are regulated under Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth). Generally, while there are no limits on individuals or organisations making such contributions to political parties, any individual contribution should be disclosed if it exceeds an appointed annual threshold, which is indexed to the official inflation measure for that year. Effective 1 July 2017 - 30 June 2018, the threshold is AUD13,500; the Australian Electoral Commission has confirmed that this will increase to AUD13,800 effective 1 July 2018 - 30 June 2019.

Separate provisions apply for individual states and territories. These are often far more proscriptive. For example, in New South Wales, any individual contribution valued at or exceeding AUD1,000 must be disclosed, and (cumulative) annual contributions above certain limits are prohibited (for the year 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, this annual limit ranged from AUD2,700 to AUD6,100, depending on the person, party or group to whom the contribution was made.)

Poland Small Flag Poland

Yes. The financing of political parties in Poland is regulated by the Act on Political Parties. The sources of financing of political parties are transparent and open to public scrutiny.

A political party may receive funds only from individuals, meaning that it cannot accept contributions from other entities, including corporate entities. Moreover, a political party can accept funds only from Polish citizens. There is also limit on contributions that can be made by one person. The total sum of the political contributions cannot exceed 15 times the minimum wage in a given year (in 2018 the minimum wage amounted to PLN 2,100).

Ireland Small Flag Ireland

The Electoral Act 1997 (as amended) (the “Electoral Act”) places a limit on permissible political donations in Ireland, and donations over a certain amount must be disclosed to the SIPO Commission.

This applies to members of the Houses of the Irish Parliament and representatives in the European Parliament (“members”) who must furnish a donations statement (detailing donations exceeding €600) to the SIPO Commission each year together with a statutory declaration confirming the members’ satisfaction with the accuracy of the statement.

The Electoral Act also applies to donors in some cases. The following are the key requirements of the Electoral Act:

  • A member / candidate can accept a maximum donation of €1,000 from a particular person in any one year.
  • In any one year, donations exceeding €100 will obligate a member to open and maintain a political donations account in a financial institution based in Ireland and he / she must certify that all donations in that year have been lodged in that account.
  • A political donation from a particular person cannot be accepted if it exceeds €2,500 in any one year.
  • Donations exceeding €1,500 by the same donor to multiple candidates / members of the same party or the party itself in any one year must be disclosed on a donation statement.
  • Anonymous donations cannot be accepted if it exceeds €100 unless the name and address of the person by or on whose behalf the donation is made is disclosed.
  • Cash donations from a particular person are limited to a maximum of €200 in a particular year.
  • Corporate donations exceeding €200 in a particular year cannot be accepted unless the donor is registered as a corporate donor and issues a statement to the recipient detailing that the donation has been approved by the corporate entity.
  • A member may not accept a foreign donation of any value (other than a donation from an Irish citizen form abroad).

Brazil Small Flag Brazil

The Elections Law (Federal Law No. 9.504, of September 30, 1997) provided in its Article 81 the possibility of political contributions by legal entities, limited to 2% of their respective gross turnover in the fiscal year immediately preceding the elections.

Such provision, however, was amended by Federal Law No. 13.165, of September 29, 2015 (the “Electoral Reform Law”) which expressly removed the provisions for any type of political contributions by legal entities. As a result thereof, since the elections held in 2016, only individuals may make political contributions (in addition to the self-contribution by the candidate and the donations made by political parties themselves, provided that such funds do not result from contributions made by legal entities, even when such contributions were allowed).

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

The Bribery Act does not include any specific provisions in relation to political contributions, although the general offences of giving or receiving a bribe may be applicable.

UAE Small Flag UAE

The UAE is a federation comprised of seven sheikhdoms. As such, political contributions are generally not an issue as there is a lack of politicians to influence via bribery.

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

Political contributions are primarily regulated by the Political Donations Act (PDA). This Act is designed predominantly to prevent foreign citizens and foreign controlled bodies from interfering in the domestic political process by funding candidates and political associations.

Under the PDA, political associations and candidates can only accept contributions from permissible donors (Singapore citizens over the age of 21, Singapore controlled companies carrying out business mainly in Singapore, and a candidate's political party). If donations come from anonymous donors, receipt is restricted to S$ 5,000 per reporting period.

Donors who donate an aggregate sum of S$ 10,000 or more in a calendar year, political associations and any aspiring or actual candidate must file donation reports, at least annually, to the Registrar of Political Donations.

China Small Flag China

Political contributions are not applicable under China’s legal and political system.

Mexico Small Flag Mexico

Yes, political contributions are regulated by Article 41 of the CPEUM and the General Law on Electoral Institutions and Procedures (“LGIPE”). In general terms, political parties may obtain private financing (within the thresholds and restrictions set forth in the LGIPE and its regulations), but in no event they may receive donations or contributions in cash, metals or jewellery, from any individual or company.

Greece Small Flag Greece

Political contributions are governed by Law 3023/2002 (as amended in 2014 and 2017). There are provisions for transparency of contributions, proper registration, publishing complete financial statements, restrictions in receiving funding, disclosures etc. Violations of these provisions are punishable with fines, suspension of sponsorships and, for certain type of offences, imprisonment for the individuals.

India Small Flag India

As per the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act, 1952, political parties in India are allowed to receive contribution offered by any person or company other than a foreign source of government company. The Companies Act, 2013 and the Income Tax Act further regulate the manner in which such political contributions are made.

Angola Small Flag Angola

Law no. 13/12, May 2nd 2012, which approved the internal regulation for the National Parliament (Assembleia Nacional) provides in its Article 71.1, f) that the specialized working commissions (Comissões de Trabalho Especializadas) – entities within the Parliament – shall mention, in their reports and opinions, the contributions received by entities with relevant interests in the matters under discussion.

Portugal Small Flag Portugal

Yes, Law no. 19/2003 establishes the framework for party financing.

Articles 7 and 8 of Law no. 19/2003 establish that political parties may not receive donations from anonymous donors or corporate entities.

Donations from individuals cannot exceed the annual limit of 25 times the Social Support Index. The Social Support Index for 2018 is 428,90 euros, which means that the maximum amount an individual can donate to a political party in 2018 is 10.722,50 euros.

Denmark Small Flag Denmark

Yes, political contributions are governed by the provisions of the Danish Accounts of Political Parties Act. Among other things the Act imposes a limit to anonymous contributions. However, an anonymous contribution may still be given through an intermediary.

Germany Small Flag Germany

In cases of political contributions, sections 331 and 333 of the Criminal Code will apply. According to the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) political contributions in relation to an election campaign are legal, as long as no specific official act in favour of the contributor is promised. Just promising to be willing to officiate in accordance with the contributor’s general economic and political view after the election is not a punishable offence.

Section 31d of the law on political parties (PartG) applies in certain cases regarding the party’s income or contributions it receives.

Italy Small Flag Italy

Political contributions are regulated by specific legislation (Legislative Decree no. 149, dated 28th December 2013), by means of which the so-called public financing for parties has been abolished. Said legislation allows for private funding for parties and regulates it according to principles of transparency and adequacy.

Macau Small Flag Macau

Article 93 of Law no. 3/2001 as amended by Law no 11/2008, September 22nd 2008, which approved the Electoral Law for the Legislative Assembly of the Special Administrative Region of Macao, provides that the candidates, the agents of the candidature (and other entities of the sort), as well as political associations are obliged to report the origin of all the income received.

This Article further states that every expense originated by acts that may produce the effects of propaganda for candidates or candidatures shall be included in the respective electoral accounts, with an exception made to those which have not been authorised or ratified by the candidates, the agents of the candidatures, the political associations and the like.

Mozambique Small Flag Mozambique

HRA: Political contributions are not specifically regulated for the purposes of bribery and corruption, and shall fall within the general regime.

Japan Small Flag Japan

Yes. The Political Funds Control Law provides detailed regulations for political donations from individuals and corporations.

France Small Flag France

The mistrust of the French people towards political parties can be explained by the various cases and controversies that have arisen recently, such as in the Bygmalion case, with suspicions of embezzlement of a parliamentary group's funds, an investigation into the financing of a party via the remuneration of European parliamentary assistants, loans granted by foreign institutions to a French party, etc.

Until 1988, there were no regulations about the political parties financing. The Acts of 11 March 1988, 15 January 1990, 19 January 1995 and 11 April 2003 defined the rules, in particular by capping election expenses. This legislation was created to ensure transparency in the financing of political parties and election campaigns as well as to limit the risk of bribery. On the one hand, the National Commission for Campaign Accounts and political financing (CNCCFP) organises transparency and audits the accounts, and on the other hand, the law limits private financing by prohibiting the financing of political life by legal entities.

To compensate for this, a large public funding system has been created, proportional to the number of votes obtained in elections. Election expenses are also capped. Furthermore, financing by individuals is permitted but limited. Regarding election campaigns, contributions may not exceed 4,600 euros for one or more candidates in the same election. Concerning donations to political parties, the same person may not contribute more than 7,500 euros to different political parties. The fine for violating of this rule is 3,750 euros and/or one year's imprisonment.

However, the High Authority for the Transparency in Public Life (HATVP) is an important independent French administrative body created by the law enacted on 11 October 2013. It is responsible for receiving, monitoring and publishing, together with the Tax authorities, declarations of assets and declarations of interests of certain public officials who are members of the government. It may also be consulted by these same public officials on ethical and conflict of interest issues relating to the performance of their duties and may issue recommendations at the request of the Prime Minister or on his own initiative.

The Sapin II Act has increased transparency in the financing of electoral campaigns and political parties i.e publication of an annual report by the National Campaign Accounts Commission to indicate the comprehensive list of organizations that have made donations stating the amount, as well as the ceiling on campaign expenses for the election of deputies.

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

Switzerland has no specific regulations on the financing of political parties and election campaigns. This has repeatedly been criticised by international organizations.

United States Small Flag United States

Under the FCPA, bribes to foreign political parties and candidates for foreign political office disguised as political contributions are prohibited so long as all of the required elements are satisfied. Political contributions that are in compliance with the written laws and regulations of the political party’s or candidate’s country and not paid for a corrupt purpose may be permitted. 18 USC section 78dd-1(c).

Updated: June 11, 2018