Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Political Donations

Why is it that we must suffer the inefficiency and delay of Tribunals, often as a result of arrogant individuals who challenge these bodies set up to investigate matters of great importance and then suffer the muted and popularly disatisfying outcomes of their findings only then for no lessons to be taken from the events that lead to their establishment? That limits are set so that political parties need make no declaration as to donations received is an insult to the people who have voted for them and a slur on the integrity of our political system. With no obligation to report private funding of less than 5, 000 euro, our two largest parties, FF and FG made no declaration on private funding received in 2006, indeed FG has not made any declarations since 2001. Rotten.. state of... and Denmark come to mind. To think that the year before an election and considering the lack of transparency traditionally associated with our elected members our ethics legislation places such few demands on the financial management of political parties in ridiculous.

We have seemingly imperviously powerful people running this country, they do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Irish Times story here.

13 comments:

Tuathal said...

This is just shameless busybodying.

If I, as a private citizen, wish to make a donation of €5000 to a political party, in confidence, then it is none of your business.

CK said...

Tuathal, if you are going to be argumentative for the sake of it at least put some though into it.

Tuathal said...

And if you're going to get uppity and ignore my point at least put some time in to it and proof read your retort.

CK said...

You can't have put thought into an argument where you defend your rights as a private citizen, yet condone a situation where the entitlements that stem from our votes and money we pay as tax payers could be undermined by specific interests receiving more favour than is due by our political parties.

Tuathal said...

Excuse me, are you going to answer my point or continue to employ the standard evasive response. Answer my point please. What business is it of anybody elses if I, as a private individual make a donation of €5000 to a political party of my choice? Surely, I have the right to do so anonymously?

You want every donation broadcast for the world to see which is typical short sighted populist fairytale thinking. It would impinge on a fundamental human right and why stop there, why not make every donation to any organsiation a matter of public record? If it is legal to make a donation to a political party then my name has no business being in the paper as a result.

In your comment you say that donations may be used to undermine our votes and the money we pay as tax payers. Sure it can, no arguments there. However, i challenge you to name one freedom afforded to us, as citizens, that cannot be abused and misused in some way! We put up with though, because the benefits out weight the potential negatives.

And besides we have tribunals of enquiries, which you are so fond of, to unearth any improper conduct resulting from donations.

CK said...

Well Tuathal, I am sorry that your desire to argue has blinded your ability to read my post correctly. I in no way suggest impinging on the rights of private individuals to have donations to parties or anyone else revealed to the public. I would however like a system wherby political parties are held to some form of account, held to present balance sheets and financial information on how they run their organisations which they hold up to be reputable organisations, numbered by reputable people. The fact is the major political parties are huge machines, with huge costs and could be receiving endless funding in small amounts from a number of people with shared interests. And my opening point was the findings of Tribunals should prevent this happening, they are not watch dogs, our legislators were to respond to the corrupt practices uncovered but instead we have a situatuion where they manage their finances os that no declarations need be mnade from one year to the next.

Tuathal said...

Ok CK, humour me, if you got access to Fine Gaels balance book without any names against the donations, what use would it be to you in stopping corruption? Fine Gael could simply claim that all donations they recieved were from private citizens.

CK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tuathal said...

Have you an allergy to answering questions.

I repeat What good would that do in eliminating corruption without a name beside the donation?

You seem to be advocating a balance book with a complete list of every amount recieved in donations by a political party. This would tell us two things. 1. How many donations a party got. 2. How much they got.

CK said...

Tuathal, the Tribunals came about because of and uncovered an endemic problem, a culture of corruption in our country. There is not a quick fix solution to a cultural problem. Corruption and its causes are the subject of endless research and its emergence is the result of varying and unique factors in each society and culture. What needs to be remedied here in Ireland is that those in power with access to public funds, with responsibility for executing policy in the public good, need to work within an environment where they are held to account and the same rigours of the corporate world and all those around them they seek to regulate. To legislate to ensure fiscal responsibility within strict parameters is essential. Again you seem to think I want a full disclosure that will be released to the media, we have an Ombudsman, Commissions of Investigation, an Attorney General, an Comptroller and Auditor General, Financial regulators who hold responsibility for holding the finances of parties to account and then parties and/or members could explain themselves to their colleagues and if needs be the Dail.

Tuathal said...

Will you or will you not admit that what you are suggesting would require my name to be placed beside that donation if any semblence of accountability and responsibility is to be achieved?

Its all well and good saying that political parties need to be held accountable, but you are flat out refusing to accept or admit that for an Ombudsman even to be able to ensure accountability and prevent corruption, then you need to know who made what donation.

CK said...

Yes, but to get back to your first point, you can still make the donation in confidence, it will be protected under Protection of Data legislation!

Tuathal said...

it's not in confidence. I'd have to tell the party who I am when I'm giving them money so that the Ombudsman could get the information. It would be impossible for me to make an anonymous donation.