Last update: 28-Jul-2014 12:03 pm
Monday, July 28, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Dancing around campaign finance reform
Last Tuesday in the Senate, Independent Senator Rolph Balgobin told political parties to “put up or shut up” about campaign finance reform. This matter has been talked about for more years than one can remember. The basic issue is that the existing election rules pertain to the expenses of individual candidates, but do not cover the expenses of the various political parties.
In this country, political parties are not registered as companies, so there are no reporting requirements as would obtain with normal businesses. However, the parties all receive large donations in various forms at election time which are designed to assist their electoral fortunes.
Where all of this gets murky is in the post-election period when allegations are made about political investors being rewarded with state contracts in return for their electoral financial support. Political parties are not going to open up their records for public scrutiny for everyone to see who made donations to them in election periods. The debate is one in which opposition parties make allegations against governing parties about rewarding their financial backers.
However, when opposition parties become governing parties, they engage in exactly the same behaviour. This allows the vicious cycle to continue. In other words, angels will become devils and devils will become angels.