This site is the dedicated web-space of the joint initiative by Transparency International Hungary and K-monitor and atlatszo.hu to bring more transparency and accountability to party- and campaign financing in Hungary.
The word “képmutatás” means “hypocrisy” in Hungarian and, indeed, the current state of party- and campaign financing in Hungary and the position of all parliamentary parties on the issue today is nothing if not hypocritical.
While parties profess their desire to clean up the current system and eliminate the corrupt practices surrounding it, they continue spend as much as ten times the legal limit on their campaigns, abuse state and municipal resources for their campaigns, raise funds through illegal channels and spend money in ways that are incompatible with the word, as well as the spirit of the law. Yet, to this day the parties could not find consensus in endorsing a series of amendments that would create a transparent and accountable framework for the funding of political parties and their campaigns. Without serious public pressure for change along the lines of clear policy recommendations, there is little chance for reform in this area.
Bill on campaign financing
Sham parties could drain billions of forints from public money
According to TI, ideal campaign regulations should rely on the below principles:
- Parties should pay their campaign expenses from an account managed at the SAO or the Treasury.
- The account data should be made public on the website of the SAO/Treasury.
- The requirement of accountability should be expanded to the civil society organizations who help party campaigning (associations, foundations), and to private entities and firms as well.
- Strict sanctions have to be introduced against those who infringe spending and accounting rules.
Transparent campaigns in the media
- Benefits given by media entities to political figures have to be regulated uniformly, or benefits have to be completely forbidden.
- Media giving place for political advertising have to make their income from this source public no later than 30 days following the elections.
Real control over political parties
- The control functions of the SAO have to be extended to parties’ business enterprises, foundations, youth organizations and NGOs supporting political parties.
- SAO has to be reinforced both in terms of manpower and preparedness.
- Biennial audit of parties benefiting of state support has to be changed to an annual control and room has to be made for extraordinary inspections as well.
- The practice of informing parties a month ahead of such inspections has to be abolished.
De facto shorter campaign period
- Rules pertaining to the 50 days-long campaign period should not be circumventable: all advertisements connected to political parties should be unanimously banned outside of the official campaign period.
More transparent incomes
- Private and legal entities can offer support to candidates and nominating organisations.
- Firms can support with a maximum amount of five million, while private entities with a maximum of two million forints per campaign.
Activities of civil society organizations
- Publicity rules pertaining to political parties and nominating organizations should be binding also for monetary affairs of institutions doing political campaigning.