The Open Society Justice Initiative has published a handbook to aid civil society groups in tracking election campaign finances and exposing corruption. Monitoring Election Campaign Finance: A Handbook for NGOs is the most systematic effort to date to bring together and digest the range of campaign finance monitoring experience gained in recent years.
Corrupt electoral campaign financing—whether by private donors or government incumbents commandeering state resources—is damaging not only to the electoral process, but to democracy itself. Political finance regulations, intended to create a level playing field for electoral competition, are often inadequate.
NGOs and activists across the world have begun to monitor campaign finance and advocate reforms in order to reduce the opportunities for corruption, with some promising results. But guidance on the best ways to monitor election campaign finance remains scarce. Monitoring Election Campaign Finance: A Handbook for NGOs provides a collection of good practices and tools, organized in the form of practical guidelines and discussions of key concepts, to assist NGOs in designing and carrying out effective campaign finance monitoring and reform programs tailored to needs in their own countries.
Moving beyond previous efforts in this field, which focus on campaign income and donations to parties and candidates, the handbook also addresses campaign expenditures—another frequent area of corrupt behavior—and the use or abuse of public resources by governing parties in electoral campaigns. Additional chapters offer guidance on the effective use of monitoring results and evaluation of monitoring exercises.
The complete report is available for download.