Political finance resources

Introduction to political finance

If you want a brief introduction to political finance, please check the IFES publication Controlling Money in Politics: A brief introduction. This introduction is also available in the following languages:



















 Political finance regulations

Data on political finance regulations in 180 countries around the world are available in the International IDEA Political Finance Database. The main findings are summarised in Political Finance Regulations Around the World, also available in Spanish and Myanmar.


The experience of political finance regulation is discussed further in the IFES publication Political Finance Regulation: the Global Experience, also available in French, Khmer and Russian


More information about party regulations (including political finance) in Europe is available at the Party Law in Modern Europe. The outcome of the GRECO evaluations of political finance regulations in 49 countries is summarised in Political Funding by Mr Yves-Marie Doublet - see also the evaluation and compliance reports


Bridging formal regulations and the actual role of money in politics around the world is the IDEA Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns: a Handbook on Political Finance. Available on the same page in Myanmar, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian.


Standards in political finance

Pretty much the only reference to political finance in international conventions is article 7(3) in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).


A global collection of standards in the electoral area, including some relating to campaign finance, is maintained by the Carter Center Global Obligations for Democratic Elections.

There is also an overview of European Standards in Political Finance. Key among these standards is the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendation 2003(4) and the OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission Guidelines on Political Party Regulations (available in Arabic, English, French and Russian).


Work by political finance regulators (government enforcement institutions)

The by far most detailed resource on official control of political finance regulations is the IFES Oversight, toolkit for political finance institutions


Regarding offical political finance oversight in Eastern Europe, you can find detailed information in the IFES database FORT: Political Finance Oversight Database for Europe & Eurasia. 


A older resource on the activities of political finance enforcement is available in the IFES Political Finance Oversight Handbook, part of the Training in Detection and Enforcement (TIDE) curriculum. Also available in  Bahasa Indonesian and in Russian


Civil society monitoring

The key document on civil society monitoring of campaign finance, including of issues such as abuse of state resources, is Vote for Free, A Global Guide for Citizen Monitoring of Campaign Finance


Though partially dated, the Monitoring Election Campaign Finance: A Handbook for NGOs by the Open Society Justice Initiative includes valuable information about campaign finance monitoring by civil society groups. The U4 publication Political Finance: State Control and Civil Society Monitoring is also a good read.


Also check out the publications by the Lebanese Transparency Association, and Transparency International Georgia  and the 2017 initiative in the Czech Republic.


Finally, there is an introduction to including campaign finance monitoring in international election observation.


Abuse of state resources

On this important subject, please see the IFES page here, which includes the Abuse of State Resources Research and Assessment Framework.

NDI has published a valuable document on How Citizen Organizations can Monitor Abuse of State Resources in Elections


Also read Bruno Speck & Alessandra Fontana’s u4 report Milking the System’ Fighting the Abuse of Public Resources for Re-Election.

Also see the IFES report Abuse of State Resources and Marcin Walecki’s text Combatting Abuse of State Resources.


Political finance and gender

See the IFES White Paper on Political Finance and Gender Equality.


Though it costs money to access, I recommend Gendered Electoral Financing, Money, Power and Representation in Comparative Perspective, edited by Ragnhild L. MuriaasVibeke WangRainbow Murray


 Other interesting resources are the 2018 report Gender-targeted Public Funding for Political Parties: A comparative analysis, and the chapter on gender and political finance in the IDEA Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns: a Handbook on Political Finance, See also the country studies on political finance and gender in Colombia, Kenya and Tunisia.


See also the 50/50 report Women Candidates and Campaign Finance and the UNDP report Electoral Financing to Advance Women’s Political Participation