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 Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?

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PostSubject: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:25 am

As the Independent today reported that funding to Sinn Féin by American donors had increased by a quarter of a million euro over the past year, is it time that we put an end to fundraising activities carried out outside the state by parties contesting elections inside the state. I believe that in American politics only American citizens may donate to the campaigns, I am unsure of the rules regarding corporations.

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/sinn-fein-gets-8364250000-extra-from-us-donors-1456929.html
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:28 am

No, I don't think they should.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:40 am

At least they're stating the support they get from overseas.......but in reality how can you really tell where a party's money comes from? and I'm not talking exclusively Sinn Féin?
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:42 am

I'm not talking exclusively about Sinn Féin either.

Of course you can tell where a party's money comes from if there is proper accounting scrutiny... unless of course most fundraising is done with 50 grand in cash in the wardrobe of Buswells Hotel. It isn't generally the case though.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:49 am

johnfás wrote:
I'm not talking exclusively about Sinn Féin either.

Of course you can tell where a party's money comes from if there is proper accounting scrutiny... unless of course most fundraising is done with 50 grand in cash in the wardrobe of Buswells Hotel. It isn't generally the case though.

Perhaps one way of dealing with this would be to set a low cap on the amount a party could spend in the year up to an election, and not worry too much where it comes from. That would mean that parties would have to rely primarily on canvassing by members and through public meetings. They could be given television and radio time based on their membership.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:51 am

johnfás wrote:
I'm not talking exclusively about Sinn Féin either.

Of course you can tell where a party's money comes from if there is proper accounting scrutiny... unless of course most fundraising is done with 50 grand in cash in the wardrobe of Buswells Hotel. It isn't generally the case though.

That's what I'm talkin about. One man's dinner dance is another man's fundraiser.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:52 am

cactus flower wrote:
johnfás wrote:
I'm not talking exclusively about Sinn Féin either.

Of course you can tell where a party's money comes from if there is proper accounting scrutiny... unless of course most fundraising is done with 50 grand in cash in the wardrobe of Buswells Hotel. It isn't generally the case though.

Perhaps one way of dealing with this would be to set a low cap on the amount a party could spend in the year up to an election, and not worry too much where it comes from. That would mean that parties would have to rely primarily on canvassing by members and through public meetings. They could be given television and radio time based on their membership.

We already have quite stringent restrictions on televised party political broadcasts during election campaigns and they are based on some methodology such as you outline, though I am unsure of the actual method. Such broadcasts outside of election time are illegal under the Broadcast Act.

Why should we not worry about where the money comes from? Surely we should be against outside influence on our internal political affairs?
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:56 am

johnfás wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
johnfás wrote:
I'm not talking exclusively about Sinn Féin either.

Of course you can tell where a party's money comes from if there is proper accounting scrutiny... unless of course most fundraising is done with 50 grand in cash in the wardrobe of Buswells Hotel. It isn't generally the case though.

Perhaps one way of dealing with this would be to set a low cap on the amount a party could spend in the year up to an election, and not worry too much where it comes from. That would mean that parties would have to rely primarily on canvassing by members and through public meetings. They could be given television and radio time based on their membership.

We already have quite stringent restrictions on televised party political broadcasts during election campaigns and they are based on some methodology such as you outline, though I am unsure of the actual method. Such broadcasts outside of election time are illegal under the Broadcast Act.

Why should we not worry about where the money comes from? Surely we should be against outside influence on our internal political affairs?

Tony O'Reilly/AJF O'Reilly/ Sir Anthony? He mightn't hand over the readies but should this be included?
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:27 am

There are any number of serious flaws in the manner in which or democracy is organised. The funding of political parties is one. I don`t think political parties should be allowed fundraise at all. Election expediture should be covered by the state based on any number of criteria. Any money, over a very low threshold, given to a politician would then be regarded as a bribe and should be dealt with accordingly. The problem with O`Reilly was that he was allowed gain control over such a large section of the Irish media. If our political and business leaders were interested in democracy it wouldn`t have been allowed happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:42 am

anmajornarthainig wrote:
There are any number of serious flaws in the manner in which or democracy is organised. The funding of political parties is one. I don`t think political parties should be allowed fundraise at all. Election expediture should be covered by the state based on any number of criteria. Any money, over a very low threshold, given to a politician would then be regarded as a bribe and should be dealt with accordingly. The problem with O`Reilly was that he was allowed gain control over such a large section of the Irish media. If our political and business leaders were interested in democracy it wouldn`t have been allowed happen.

Surely this would lead to domination of the present upper echelons and leave no room for future parties of necessity?
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:13 am

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
johnfás wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
johnfás wrote:
I'm not talking exclusively about Sinn Féin either.

Of course you can tell where a party's money comes from if there is proper accounting scrutiny... unless of course most fundraising is done with 50 grand in cash in the wardrobe of Buswells Hotel. It isn't generally the case though.

Perhaps one way of dealing with this would be to set a low cap on the amount a party could spend in the year up to an election, and not worry too much where it comes from. That would mean that parties would have to rely primarily on canvassing by members and through public meetings. They could be given television and radio time based on their membership.

We already have quite stringent restrictions on televised party political broadcasts during election campaigns and they are based on some methodology such as you outline, though I am unsure of the actual method. Such broadcasts outside of election time are illegal under the Broadcast Act.

Why should we not worry about where the money comes from? Surely we should be against outside influence on our internal political affairs?

Tony O'Reilly/AJF O'Reilly/ Sir Anthony? He mightn't hand over the readies but should this be included?

There is far too much money spent on elections. It gives big money a big advantage. Look at the Libertas campaign. I'm suggesting a very tight limit on spending. That would much reduce the potential for financial advantage to tilt an election. If parties had to rely more on the footslog of canvassing and public meetings, the risk of outside interference would be small. That's why I wouldn't worry about it. The Press and its impact on elections would worry me more.

The internet, once enough people have access to it, is low cost and makes it possible for small parties or new candidates to make an impact. Public service television could give more time for candidates to broadcast, on the basis of membership not numbers of elected representatives.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:47 am

Fund raising outside the State should be prohibited simply on the grounds that there is no way that the source of such funding can be tracked to check whether in is in line with existing guidelines.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:53 am

I'm sorry but I have to ask again saying that it's foreign contributions...Tony O'Reilly/AJF O'Reilly/ Sir Anthony? He mightn't hand over the readies but should this be included?
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:55 am

I'm open to be convinced, but what are the ill effects that might come from having outside funding. Isn't there is a long history of Irish politicians/parties getting funding from the US? Did it have an adverse effect on democracy here?
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:11 am

cactus flower wrote:
I'm open to be convinced, but what are the ill effects that might come from having outside funding. Isn't there is a long history of Irish politicians/parties getting funding from the US? Did it have an adverse effect on democracy here?

You can't really police it. I don't want to be sued by the de valera family but the establishment of the Irish Press proves that you can't prove things(foreign financed influence) like this and not have a serious impact on elections
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:16 am

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
I'm open to be convinced, but what are the ill effects that might come from having outside funding. Isn't there is a long history of Irish politicians/parties getting funding from the US? Did it have an adverse effect on democracy here?

You can't really police it. I don't want to be sued by the de valera family but the establishment of the Irish Press proves that you can't prove things(foreign financed influence) like this and not have a serious impact on elections


Agreed, lack of policing is a serious issue re foreign funding.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:28 am

And anyhow are you gonna consider Sinn Féin funding from the sick counties as foreign?
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:34 am

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
And anyhow are you gonna consider Sinn Féin funding from the sick counties as foreign?

Me personally, no. I can think of so many ways that elections can be skewed without outside influence that Im finding it hard to imagine how foreign money could make it worse (provided there's a low cap on spending). But I do see your point about it being difficult to check up on.

At the end of the day voters vote.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:34 am

johnfás wrote:
As the Independent today reported that funding to Sinn Féin by American donors had increased by a quarter of a million euro over the past year, is it time that we put an end to fundraising activities carried out outside the state by parties contesting elections inside the state. I believe that in American politics only American citizens may donate to the campaigns, I am unsure of the rules regarding corporations.

Ah, was wondering if this would come up. I suppose nobody remembers the halcyon days when FF big wigs regularly trooped over to the US on their fund raising adventures. Was considered the done thing then. However, once SF began to out-collect FF in a big way, it became an embarrasement to FF. Didn't they make the use of non-Irish funds illegal in Irish elections already?

Now, if the big Irish parties would only publish their accounts like SF do, we might see where the monies for their campaign chests originate and who has the real influence on this country's policies. The only reason the people now bang on about SF fund raising is because SF has on its own initiative brought its finances into the public domain.

Will the other parties do likewise? No sign of it. The real issue here is transparency of fund raising; the sources; the amounts; and the inferences that can be drawn from donations.

The sad fact is that the owner of the paper in which this biased articles appears, and lets no kid ourselves about the inherent Indo's bias, has more influence on the politics of this island than do the c. 250,000 who voted for SF in recent elections.

Election reform and funding, like most things in Irish politics, are only viewed as devices to give the establishment a leg up or to beat down the opposition. We're a great nation for talking about fundamental law while bastardising the spirit of the law at every opportunity. Colloquially, we call it gombeenism. Gombeenism is the foundation upon which we conduct many of our political affairs all too often and upon which our media operates on a daily basis.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:38 pm

cactus flower wrote:

There is far too much money spent on elections. It gives big money a big advantage. Look at the Libertas campaign. I'm suggesting a very tight limit on spending. That would much reduce the potential for financial advantage to tilt an election. If parties had to rely more on the footslog of canvassing and public meetings, the risk of outside interference would be small. That's why I wouldn't worry about it. The Press and its impact on elections would worry me more.

The internet, once enough people have access to it, is low cost and makes it possible for small parties or new candidates to make an impact. Public service television could give more time for candidates to broadcast, on the basis of membership not numbers of elected representatives.

I agree a few simple posters and a basic election leaflet is all they need at election time. Also reduce not only the amount candidates can spend but also the parties. We don't need huge billboards and A0 full colour posters to know there is an election. If they don't get out and do the footwork then they don't get elected. Much tighter spending limits would mean that some independents and the poorer candidates get a better chance. Much fairer.

It would also reduce the need for money in political parties and they could be a lot less beholding to contributes.

Quasi political organisations also need severe restriction and in many ways they worry me more.

With regards the press, ownership and motives. I think stringent anti trust legislation is required in this sector and some of the empires broken up and utterly fragmented. The press clearly have considerable power and often use it to misinform and steer opinion. It is not the job of the press to decide the next government, and some even crow about it. It's the Sun that won it mentality. That miss use of power needs to be broken.

With regards state broadcasting all candidates should be treated equally irrespective of them being elected before or not. All should be treated equally before the electorate. It is up to the electorate to decide who is important and who is not, not the broadcasting company.

I don't like foreign funding of political parties, quasi political organisations or lobbyists. I think it should stop. It is direct interference into the governance of this country. It is a cheap way to interfere into the workings of a country. If we look at SF funding from a slightly different angle the problem becomes obvious. From a British perspective US funding of SF and the Republican movement could be viewed as a hostile act, which it was. You can't have foreign individuals or governments funding and seeking to influence democracy here, it is abhorrent. All money comes with tags.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:20 pm

The amount of people from the six counties living in the US is vast. The british govt has had no problem with SF's fund raising in the US as their finances are publicly published according the stringent govt guidelines. Given that SF doesn't and won't attend the London assembly, I suppose the British don't perceive any "threat".

I'd love to see how much money comes from the UK into Irish political coffers but then again Irish parties, bar one, don't make their financial statments public.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:22 pm

rockyracoon wrote:
The amount of people from the six counties living in the US is vast. The british govt has had no problem with SF's fund raising in the US as their finances are publicly published according the stringent govt guidelines. Given that SF doesn't and won't attend the London assembly, I suppose the British don't perceive any "threat".

I'd love to see how much money comes from the UK into Irish political coffers but then again Irish parties, bar one, don't make their financial statments public.

..into Drumcondra safes
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:34 pm

rockyracoon wrote:
I'd love to see how much money comes from the UK into Irish political coffers but then again Irish parties, bar one, don't make their financial statments public.

Indeed and even though vast numbers of Irish live in Britain I don't think there should be funding from outside the country. Too easy to interfere.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:00 pm

Squire wrote:
cactus flower wrote:

There is far too much money spent on elections. It gives big money a big advantage. Look at the Libertas campaign. I'm suggesting a very tight limit on spending. That would much reduce the potential for financial advantage to tilt an election. If parties had to rely more on the footslog of canvassing and public meetings, the risk of outside interference would be small. That's why I wouldn't worry about it. The Press and its impact on elections would worry me more.

The internet, once enough people have access to it, is low cost and makes it possible for small parties or new candidates to make an impact. Public service television could give more time for candidates to broadcast, on the basis of membership not numbers of elected representatives.

I agree a few simple posters and a basic election leaflet is all they need at election time. Also reduce not only the amount candidates can spend but also the parties. We don't need huge billboards and A0 full colour posters to know there is an election. If they don't get out and do the footwork then they don't get elected. Much tighter spending limits would mean that some independents and the poorer candidates get a better chance. Much fairer.
This sounds like a decent idea - what parties are supporting this as a policy I wonder? Or is it again a case of turkeys voting for Christmas?

You'd imagine it would promote democracy by having people organise rallies, meeting and political events where they could contribute into the bucket at the end of meeting with a "silent" donation.

Otherwise we're dealing with extensions on houses and safes in Drumcondra among other skullduggery.
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PostSubject: Re: Should parties be allowed fundraise outside the State?   Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:45 pm

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
anmajornarthainig wrote:
There are any number of serious flaws in the manner in which or democracy is organised. The funding of political parties is one. I don`t think political parties should be allowed fundraise at all. Election expediture should be covered by the state based on any number of criteria. Any money, over a very low threshold, given to a politician would then be regarded as a bribe and should be dealt with accordingly. The problem with O`Reilly was that he was allowed gain control over such a large section of the Irish media. If our political and business leaders were interested in democracy it wouldn`t have been allowed happen.

Surely this would lead to domination of the present upper echelons and leave no room for future parties of necessity?

Not necessarily. This is the age of the internet, mass travel and mass communication. It would be difficult for a new party to start but other than having an extremely wealthy benefactor. So it`s not like the current system benfits smaller parties anyway. Under my suggestion the emphasis would shift from your ability to fundraise from wealthy donors to your ability to organise as the criteria for the amount of money being in the party`s or the politician`s war chest. It would also make the stamping out of criteria easier.
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