Debate Magazine

Anonymous Donations as Party Funding.

Posted on the 18 August 2016 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth
The perception that individuals and organisations donate to political parties in order to influence policy and/or receive honors makes the public, rightly or wrongly, view politics and politicians as self serving and corrupt.

In order to correct this, it has been suggested that parties should either be funded out of taxation or there should be a cap on the amount each donor can give.

I don’t think either of those two are satisfactory, and would like to suggest another alternative. Legislated anonymous donations.

Anyone wishing to donate above say £500, would have to send their check to the Electoral Commission nominating to whom it should go. Once a year, those donations would be passed on to the relevant party aggregated and without the names of the donors.

It should also be made an offense to let a party know, directly or indirectly you’ve made a donation, or colluded in this as a party official. The only possible reason you would want to make yourself known, would be to buy political influence.

Even if you did attempt to let yourself be known, there would be no proof you’d actually made that donation. It would be just your word. I therefore doubt any party officials would want to get involved, let alone pass on the message to politicians who actually influence policy and hand out the gongs.
Of course, there will always be those who seek to circumvent such rules. But that's isn't a legitimate argument, else we wouldn't have any rules or regualtions. Making donations anonymous by law would draw a line, which people would have carefully weigh up the pros and cons of before stepping over.

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