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MPT: Political finance

The role of money in politics challenges states worldwide, both rich and poor. Its abuse raises problems of graft, corruption and cronyism, undermining legitimacy and governance. In recent years, financial scandals have erupted all over the world. 

Yet money is essential for mobilizing election campaigns, sustaining political party organizations, and communicating with citizens. And countries such as Sweden have managed to avoid falling foul of malfeasance and graft. So how can politics be cleaned up most effectively?

oney, Politics and Transparency (MPT) is a collaboration between the Electoral Integrity Project, the Sunlight Foundation, and Global Integrity. It will generate research, analysis and global norms that civic organizations, elected officials, regulators and the media can use to build more effective political financing regulations in any country.

The project is made possible by generous support from the Hewlett Foundation and Open Society Foundations. The project’s Reference Group is made up of political finance experts from around the world who offer guidance and expertise. More information here

On July 16 2015 the project released new evidence, available here and on

Research design

In its initial phase of work, the project research design included three main methods:
  • Gathering detailed data from 50 countries to explore the current state of affairs with respect to political finance transparency and related regulatory safeguards, including actual implementation and enforcement of existing rules;
  • Publishing in-depth case studies exploring the political-economy drivers of more and less effective political finance regulatory regimes, including transparency measures; and
  • Building a global community that will use that new information to identify possible global norms to guide future political finance transparency efforts.
The results of these efforts has been released. New evidence is available from a comparative report Checkbook Elections and new Campaign Finance Indicators, available here and on

Data: Campaign Finance Indicators

In 2014, Money, Politics and Transparency designed and fielded a custom set of “Integrity Indicators” questions to assess the current state of political finance transparency and regulation in 50 countries. The goal of these indicators, based on Global Integrity’s award-winning expert assessment methodology for assessing the existence and effectiveness of integrity systems at the national and local levels, is to provide fresh data for understanding good and poor practices globally around political finance transparency and regulation.

Data on expert perceptions of campaign finance is also available for all elections held worldwide from the annual PEI index.

Access Global Integrity's Campaign Finance Indicators, methodology and analysis. 

Report: Checkbook Elections

Before-and-after case studies have been selected of major reforms to political finance regulations implemented during the last decade. Studies will focus on successful policies designed to improve disclosure rules, regulate financial caps or implement to public subsidies. Case studies will address the following questions:
  • What worked, and what has failed, in attempts to regulate money in politics and why?
  • Who were the champions of money-in-politics reforms and why were they willing to push for change?
  • What was the impact of these policies on accountability and transparency, public confidence and citizen engagement?
The case study report draws on a multi-method design and sources of evidence. To supplement the case studies, the report also draws upon data from International IDEA to classify and compare the structure of political finance regimes worldwide based on the degree of state intervention in public policies regulating political finance.

Global Norms

To contribute to the debate and development of sound transparency politics, Money, Politics and Transparency has developed a set of draft political finance transparency norms, co-created in a transparent fashion by global stakeholders. Building consensus around strong political finance transparency norms will provide advocates, legislators and regulators with a baseline to which they can compare their own countries’ political finance transparency regime and make improvements to it.

Program Manager

The Program Manager for the MPT at the University of Sydney is Dr. Andrea Abel van Es who joins the Electoral Integrity Project team from her position as lecturer in the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies at Stanford University. She teaches the core statistics sequence for the Masters of International Policy program, as well as a graduate seminar on “Civil society, protest and revolution”, and “Program and Impact Evaluation”. She received her PhD in political science from Stanford University in 2011. Her dissertation was on civil society and interest groups during regime transitions, with a focus on the Communist transition in East and Central Europe.

She is a co-founder of the IPRE Group, and consults for local and international development and aid organizations, particularly in the field of design and implementation of impact evaluation projects, as well as quantitative analysis more generally. She has consulted for Kofi Annan on his Global Commission for Elections, Democracy and Security (a joint initiative with International IDEA), Oxford’s Humanitarian Innovation Project, UNHCR, the Danish Refugee Council, as well as local San Francisco - Bay Area organizations such as Samasource and Village Enterprise.

An engineer by origin, with both Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in Aerospace/Mechatronic Engineering from Sydney University, she is a strong advocate and practitioner of quantitative evidence based decision and policy making. Hungarian/Australian by cultural background, she speaks several foreign languages and has travelled and worked extensively overseas (a repertoire she is constantly seeking to expand). She has a passion for all things West and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Get involved

For more details about Money, Politics and Transparency, visit the project website at

The Sunlight Foundation's website is at and Global Integrity's website is at

Edited volume

The project generated an edited book Checkbook Elections: Comparing Political Finance Worldwide, forthcoming with Oxford University Press (New York) in May 2016.


 Global Integrity