The Standards in Public Office Commission this week published a series of new Guidelines outlining the changes introduced by the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012.
They came into effect on 1 January 2013 and apply to members of, and candidates seeking election to, the Dáil, Seanad, European Parliament and local authorities; to political parties, third parties and candidates at a Presidential election.
Included in the provisions are:
-A reduction in the maximum donation that can be accepted by an individual elected representative or candidate from €2,539.47 to €1,000 and by a political party, accounting unit or third party from €6,348.69 to €2,500;
-The introduction of a ban on accepting corporate donations of more than €200 from a corporate donor unless the donor has registered with the Standards in Public Office Commission and a statement is furnished to the recipient confirming that the donation has been approved by the members, shareholders or trustees of the corporate donor concerned;
-A reduction in the maximum amount that can be accepted as an anonymous donation from €126.97 to €100. The same reduction also applies to the threshold for opening a political donations account. The definition of a ‘third party’ and ‘accounting unit’ has also changed and these bodies will now be recognised as such upon receipt of a donation that exceeds €100. The previous figure was €126.97;
-A ban on the acceptance of any cash donation over €200;
-Where a donation is given through an intermediary, the identity of the person on whose behalf the donation is made will have to be provided to the recipient. It will now be an offence to fail to provide this information.
Additional information must be included on a donation statement indicating whether the donation was solicited, along with the name of the person soliciting the donation, whether a receipt was given and the date the donation was given and received.
In November 2013 a provision of the Act will reduce from €5,078.95 to €200 the threshold at which donations must be reported by a company, trade union, society or building society in its annual report or return to the Registrar of Companies or Registrar of Friendly Societies.
What do yee reckon P.ie, are we cleaning up our act?
Press Releases, Standards in Public Office Commission
New guidelines reduce maximum donations to political parties