Campaign finance should be via single account - INGO
BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
Campaign finance transactions must be made through a single bank account and a financial agent should to be appointed by political parties, independent groups and candidates to be responsible, Democracy Reporting International, a Germany based non-Governmental organisation noted in a paper on Sri Lanka.
Further, the reporting and disclosure on all loans, debts and in-kind donations, including third parties, must be required.
In addition, a digital standardised format and guidelines for campaign finance reports must be established and these reports must be publicly available on the Internet in a user-friendly format.
These recommendations were made by them in a briefing paper published on campaign finance in Sri Lanka containing recommendations for its effective implementation.
‘Reporting obligations require contestants to reveal the source and financial amounts of the contributions and the purpose and financial amounts of the expenses. The disclosure of such information should cover all the necessary elements with sufficient details to allow for effective public oversight and enhanced transparency. Considerations are nevertheless necessary to avoid overly onerous obligations and undue administrative hurdles that could limit or distort electoral competition and result in the opposite effect.
Reporting requirements can be established at different junctures or even continuously. Requiring a pre-election campaign finance report which provides preliminary details of the income and expenditure of campaigning parties would enhance transparency and enable voters to make more fully informed choices. Pre-election reporting via an expenditure statement published on a weekly basis till the last day of the campaign must therefore be required’.