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Austria

In law
36
In practice
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In Austria, political finance is subject to relatively little regulation. Parties are provided with direct public funding, though the fashion in which allocations and disbursements of state funds are made is not entirely transparent. The abuse of non-financial state resources in campaigns is not explicitly barred, but notably, in practice, no such abuses occurred during the most recent elections. Contributions are largely unrestricted, while both parties and candidates are limited to expenditures of no more than 7 million euros during the course of a campaign. The evidence indicates that at least two parties exceeded those expenditure caps during the 2013 parliamentary elections. Reporting requirements are sparse: by law, parties must only submit annual financial reports to the electoral authority. In practice, few details are available, and not all reported information is available to the public in standardized, comparable formats. The independent political activities of third party actors are unregulated, and in practice, at least one such actor played a role in the 2013 campaign. Responsibilities for monitoring and enforcing political finance law is split between the Court of Audit and the Transparency Commission, each of which are largely independent, though the Transparency commission is still new, and thus difficult to assess. The Commission is charged with investigating political finance issues, and does so in practice, but does not make any information on its work available to the public. By the conclusion of the study period, it had yet to impose any sanctions on violators of political finance laws.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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      Direct Public Funding
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        1
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        MODERATE
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        Direct funding for political parties for national elections is determined by the Law on Federal Aid to Political Parties of 2012 (Parteien-Förderungsgesetz 2012 – PartFörG). The overall pool of available aid is calculated by multiplying the number of eligible voters with the amount of EUR 4.6 (USD 6.2) (§ 1 (2)). In the 2013 parliamentary elections, 6,384,308 Austrians were eligible to vote, according to the Ministry of Interior.

        The law envisages that the amount per eligible voter will, from 2015 onwards, be pegged to official inflation numbers released by Statistics Austria. These changed amounts and the dates the changes come into force have to be published by the Court of Audit (§ 5).

        Substantial additional direct and indirect public funding to political parties on the national level is provided to parliamentary clubs (fractions of MPs in the parliament), as regulated by the Law on Aid to Political Education Efforts and Communication (Publizistikförderungsgesetz 1984 – PubFG), and to party academies – associations and think tanks closely linked with a political party – in line with the Federal Law to Support the Activities of Clubs of Parties in the National Council and the Federal Council (Klubfinanzierungsgesetz 1985 - KlubFG).

        There is no public funding for candidates running for President.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Substantial additional direct and indirect public funding to political parties on the national level is provided to parliamentary clubs (fractions of MPs in the parliament), as regulated by the Federal Law to Support the Activities of Clubs of Parties in the National Council and the Federal Council (Klubfinanzierungsgesetz 1985 - KlubFG), and to party academies – associations and think tanks closely linked with a political party – in line with the Law on Aid to Political Education Efforts and Communication (Publizistikförderungsgesetz 1984 – PubFG).

        Federal Act on Aid to Political Education Efforts and Communication, 1984 as amended in 2014 (Publizistikförderungsgesetz 1984 – PubFG), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000784

        Federal Law to Support the Activities of Clubs of Parties in the National Council and the Federal Council, 1985 as amended in 2014 (Klubfinanzierungsgesetz 1985 - KlubFG) https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000815

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on Aid to Political Education Efforts and Communication, 1984 as amended in 2014 (Publizistikförderungsgesetz 1984 – PubFG), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000784

        Federal Act on Federal Support for Political Parties http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4491/file/Austriafedactfedsupporttopolitpart2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the President, 1971, as amended in 2012 (Bundespräsidentenwahlgesetz 1971 – BPräsWG), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

        Austrian Ministry of Interior (2013): Elections to the National Council 2013 – Final Number of Eligible Voters, http://www.bmi.gv.at/cms/BMIwahlen/nationalrat/2013/Wahlberechtigteendg.aspx

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        MODERATE
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        Each political party that is represented in the National Council (Nationalrat) with at least five members (and thus eligible to form a parliamentary club) receives EUR 218,000 per year (USD 294,300). After subtracting these payments, the remaining funds in the pool are distributed to all political parties in the national council proportional to the votes they received in the last parliamentary election (§ 1 (2)). The public funds are paid in two installments, one by the end of the first quarter, the second one by the end of the third quarter of the year (§ 1 (4)). The Federal Chancellery is in charge of transferring the funds.

        Political parties that are not represented in the National Council [which requires at least four per cent of the valid votes] but have received at least one per cent of the valid vote are eligible to receive public funds for the year the election took place in. These parties receive EUR 2.5 (USD 3.375) for every vote they received. The public funds have to be disbursed within six months after the day of the parliamentary election (§ 1 (3)).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Law on Federal Aid to Political Parties of 2012 (Parteien-Förderungsgesetz 2012 – PartFörG), § 1, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=20007891

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        75
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        The public funds are transferred to political parties according to the mechanism determined by law. NEOS, currently the smallest party in the Austrian Parliament, publishes itemized revenues and expenditures on its website. According to this data, the party received the first of two 2014 installment of public funding of EUR 846,556.01 (USD 1,142,850) on January 14. This first installment amounted to exactly half of the funding the party is entitled to under the mechanism defined by the Political Parties Act, the funds were transferred significantly before the deadline defined by law (end of March).

        Hubert Sickinger, a professor of political science at University of Vienna, has calculated that in addition to the EUR 36,068,591 of funding under the PartFörG, the parties in the National Council also received EUR 20,896,204 (USD 28,209,875) in public aid for their parliamentary clubs and EUR 10,163,640 (USD 13,720,914) for their party academies – the latter two types of funding must not be used for campaigning. Public funding for political parties on the national level thus accounted to EUR 67,128,435 (USD 90,623,387) or EUR 10.6 (USD 14.31) per eligible voter in 2013. (Sickinger 2013, pp. 216-219)

        There were no reports in the Austrian media that would indicate that the public funds were not paid out appropriately in the first quarter of 2014. Similarly, interviewees, including one opposition party, stated that there were no problems with the allocation of public funds.

        As previously noted, no public funds are dispersed to individual candidates running for president.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources

        NEOS party website, https://neos.eu/transparenz/ (accessed 1 August, 2014).

        Austrian Chancellory: Public funds for political parties 2002-2014 (Parteienförderung 2002-2014), http://www.bundeskanzleramt.at/Docs/2014/7/22/Parteiengesetz20022014.pdf

        Hubert Sickinger (2013): Political Money – Party Financing and Public Control in Austria (Politisches Geld – Parteienfinanzierung und öffentliche Kontrolle in Österreich), Czernin, 216-219.

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Nikolas Heigl, responsible for structure and organization, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum; Feri Thierry, executive director, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum, email-exchange, 7 August 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Archive search of major Austrian daily newspapers and online publications.

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        50
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        The entity charged with the disbursement of public funds to political parties and political academies is the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt). In a section of its website, the Chancellery's constitutional service publishes annual data on public funding awarded to political parties under the Federal Act on Federal Support for Political Parties and annual subsidies to party academies awarded under the Federal Act on Aid to Political Education Efforts and Communication in two consolidated PDF files. 2014 data was not available online in mid-July but the Chancellery provided the most current data and also updated the file on its website within one hour upon request on 22 July, 2014.

        The disclosure includes the aggregate public funds political parties receive under Federal Act on Federal Support for Political Parties, but does not provide detailed disbursement information with the dates and amounts where the installments were transferred. (The law states that the payouts to parliamentary parties have to be made in two installments, by the end of the 1st and the 3rd quarter of the calendar year).

        "Released Data of public funds awarded in line with the Federal Act on Federal Support for Political Parties in 2014:

        2014 a) According to § 1 para 2 Federal Act on Federal Support of Political Parties 2012:

        Total: EUR 29,367,816.80 (USD 39,646,552.68)

        Social-democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ): EUR 8,188,124.12 (USD: 11,053,967) Austrian People's Party (ÖVP): EUR 7,347,616.89 (USD: 9,919,282) Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ): EUR 6,311,853.16 (USD 8,521,001) Greens (Grüne): EUR 3,907,679.14 (USD 5,275,366) Team Stronach: 1,919,411.47 (USD 2,591,205) NEOS: 1,693,132.02 (USD 2,285,728)


        b) According to § 1 para 3 Federal Federal Act on Federal Support of Political Parties 2012 (for the election year following the National Council election 2013)

        Total: EUR 543,802.50 (USD )

        Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ): EUR 414,365.00 (USD 559,392) Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ): EUR 102,437.50 (USD 162,590) [sic – it should be EUR 120,437.50, according to the formula]

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources

        Andreas Ulrich, Federal Chancellory – Constitutional Service (Bundeskanzleramt – Verfassungsdienst), email exchange, 22 July 2014.

        Website of the Federal Chancellory, https://www.bka.gv.at/site/4073/default.aspx

        Website of the Federal Chancellory – Public Funds paid between 2012 and 2014 to political parties in line with the Political Parties Act , http://www.bundeskanzleramt.at/Docs/2014/7/22/Parteiengesetz20022014.pdf

        Federal Act on Federal Support for Political Parties http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4491/file/Austriafedactfedsupporttopolitpart2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
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        NO
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        No general ban on the use of state resources for electoral campaigns exists.

        The Law on the Transparency of Media Cooperation and Subsidies (MedKF-TG) requires that advertisements placed by state bodies or state-owned companies must not display the face of the President, of a minister or deputy minister (Staatssekretär) or members of regional governments (§ 3a (4)).

        Political parties are banned from receiving donations (including in-kind contributions) from parliamentary clubs or party academies (both are recipients of public funds), from public bodies and from companies and entities in which the state owns more than 25 per cent (§ 6 (6)).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        Law on the Transparency of Media Cooperation and Subsidies (Medienkooperations- und -förderungs-Transparenzgesetz, MedKF-TG), 2011, § 3a (4), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=20007610

        Federal Law on the Financing of Political Parties, 2012 (Parteiengesetz 2012 – PartG), § 6 (6), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=20007889

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        100
        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        There is no evidence of specific cases in which state resources were misused around the 2013 National Council elections or the 2010 presidential elections.

        Interlocutors stated that it was quite possible that occasionally there was no strict separation between State resources and campaign resources concerning ministers. Interlocutors suggested that a minister might use his official car to get to a campaign event or that the spokesperson of a minister might also be involved in drafting campaign speeches, but were not aware of any specific cases or incidents.

        The issue of misuse of state resources by parties in government was not seen as a very relevant or important problem in practice during the 2013 election campaign. One interlocutor suggested that an apparent use of state resources would likely trigger outrage and a backlash in public support, as Austrians had become sensitive to the issue because of a number of scandals in past years. Around previous elections, ministries and state-owned companies had often used public funds to run print ads, often mentioning and promoting the work of a specific minister. But this practice has disappeared, also because such ads were banned in 2012.

        A search of archives of relevant Austrian media outlets did not produce any articles highlighting cases of misuse of state resources during the 2010 presidential campaign or around the 2013 National Council election.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Nikolas Heigl, responsible for structure and organization, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum; Feri Thierry, executive director, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum, email-exchange, 7 August 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

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        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        No such law exists.


        Peer reviewer comment: The ORF Act does not include free or subsidized access of political parties to the public broadcasting company ORF (such a provision was abandoned in 2001). For this reason, there are no free or subsidized advertisements or time blocs drawn up by the parties or candidates themselves.

        According to internal regulations on advertisements, the ORF furthermore does not accept advertisements of political parties on a commercial basis.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

        ORF: Laws and Regulations (Gesetze und Regulative), 2013, : p. 12, 24, http://zukunft.orf.at/rte/upload/texte/2013/gesetze/12r0005.pdf.

        Federal Communication Senate (Bundeskommunikationssenat): Decision GZ 611.813/0004-BKS/2013, 11 December 2013, https://www.bka.gv.at/DocView.axd?CobId=53310.

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Not applicable. No free/subsidized access to advertising is guaranteed in law.

        The mission statement of the Austrian Public Broadcaster (ORF) emphasizes that the broadcaster acts "independently from political parties and other pressure groups and is committed only to its audience and the public." (ORF: Laws and Regulations, p.12)

        The ORF's programming guidelines state: "It is forbidden to provide a balance or one-sided advantage in the coverage of political parties or groups, if there is no reason in terms of news value." The guidelines state that is not the job of the ORF to generate an information 'Proporz'" – an Austrian system of governance whereby each (ruling) party has equal access to and control over institutions and resources. "The elements of society are to be represented in the ORF's informational broadcasts to the extent in which they conduct activities of news value, trigger events or generate relevant information." (ORF: Laws and Regulations, 1.5.10, p.24)

        The MediaWatch institute, a subsidiary of the Austrian Press Agency, monitored coverage during the pre-election period: The elections to the National Council were held on September 25, 2013. During the whole month of September, the three leading nationwide TV newscasts on ORF 2 ("Zib1", "Zib2", "Zib24") devoted 51.6% of their domestic political coverage to the two ruling parties (SPÖ, ÖVP), 45.3 % to four opposition parties represented in parliament, and 3 % to non-parliamentary opposition parties. Among the 15 politicians with the most coverage none belonged to non-parliamentary opposition parties (Etat.at/Mediawatch, September 2013).

        The previous month, the non-parliamentary opposition was the subject of more coverage, according to MediaWatch: In August 2013, the head of the non-parliamentary opposition party NEOS had the most airtime of all political leaders, ahead of ÖVP-leader and minister of finance Minister Michael Spindelegger, the head of the (non-parliamentary) Communist Party, Mirko Messner, and the head of the (non-parliamentary) Pirate Party, Christopher Clay. Broken down by parties, main newscasts devoted 50.2% of election coverage airtime to the two ruling parties, 18.5% of coverage to opposition parties represented in Parliament and 31.4% to opposition parties not represented in Parliament. (DerStandard.at/MediaWatch, September 2013)

        NEOS and Liberales Forum (two Liberal parties that eventually merged) filed a complaint against ORF at the Federal Communication Senate (Bundeskommunikationssenat), the regulator for the ORF, claiming that the public broadcaster had unfairly aired a number of radio and TV formats during the run-up to the elections, to which it invited only representatives of the six parties represented in the National Council, thus unfairly discriminating against parties that were running nationwide in the September 2013 National Council elections. (NEOS and other smaller parties not represented in Parliament were featured in news and other formats). The Federal Communication Senate dismissed the complaint, stating that under the current legal framework, there is no right for all parties running in an election to be invited to each format. It argued that what mattered was that the ORF covered relevant actors, including NEOS/Liberal Forum in its overall programming, but that there was no right to be invited to each format. The regulator further stated that inviting only parties represented in parliament to certain formats was per se an objective approach and that it had no right to interfere with editorial decisions of the ORF and to impose certain selection criteria (Bundeskommunikationssenat 2013) .

        The Public Broadcaster ORF is banned from airing political ads. Political parties only spent a small fraction of their campaign spending – approximately EUR 1.4 million (USD 1.89 million), out of an estimated gross total spending of EUR 32.5 million (USD 43.8 million), according to Focus Research data – on ads aired on Austrian private TV and Austrian programming windows of German channels in the run-up to the 2013 National Council elections (Sickinger 2013).

        Representatives of NEOS said that parliamentary parties received what was essentially free coverage worth EUR 800,000 (USD 1.04 million) because of the many televised debates between the lead candidates of political parliamentary parties – discussions to which NEOS, as a non-parliamentary party at the time, was not invited.

        Other interlocutors stated that the ORF aired a large number of televised debates on national TV, and that even more debates (each leader debated each leader of the other parliamentary parties) might have been too much to attract an interested audience.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources

        ORF: Laws and Regulations (Gesetze und Regulative), 2013, : p. 12, 24, http://zukunft.orf.at/rte/upload/texte/2013/gesetze/12r0005.pdf.

        Federal Communication Senate (Bundeskommunikationssenat): Decision GZ 611.813/0004-BKS/2013, 11 December 2013, https://www.bka.gv.at/DocView.axd?CobId=53310.

        Hubert Sickinger: Campaign finance ("Wahlkampffinanzierung"): in Thomas Hofer/ Barbara Tóth (publishers): Wahl 2013. Macht, Medien, Milliardäre, Vienna, 2013, p. 213-236

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Nikolas Heigl, responsible for structure and organization, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum; Feri Thierry, executive director, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum, email-exchange, 7 August 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        MediaWatch: Media coverage of parliamentary parties, September 2013, http://images.derstandard.at/2013/10/03/MediaWatchSeptember.pdf.

        DerStandard.at: "ZIBs": Neos-Leader ahead of Spindelegger and KPÖ ("ZiBs": Neos-Chef vor Spindelegger und KPÖ), 5 September 2013, quoting MediaWatch data, http://derstandard.at/1378248215491/ZiBs-Neos-Chef-vor-Spindelegger-KPOe, http://images.derstandard.at/2013/09/06/1378258726108-mediawatchneu.jpg

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
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        9
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        Political parties must not accept "donations from natural or legal persons, if this donation is in cash and larger than EUR 2,500" (USD 3,375), according to the federal law on the financing of political parties (article 6 (6), 7.).

        Similarly, a candidate, or natural persons or groups of people supporting a candidate, must not accept "donations from natural or legal persons, if this donation is in cash and larger than EUR 2,500" (USD 3,375), according to the law on the election of the federal president (article 24 (5), 7, as amended in 2012).

        In both laws, the respective provision has constitutional status and can only be amended with a 2/3 majority.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the Federal President 1971, § 24a (5), 7 (as amended in 2012), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        10
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        NO
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        Political parties must not accept donations from "anonymous donors, in case the single donation is larger than EUR 1,000" (USD 1,350), according to the federal law on the financing of political parties (article 6 (6), 8.). Furthermore, a party may not accept donations of "natural or legal persons, who apparently want to forward the donation of a third [actor], if the donation is larger than EUR 1,000" (USD 1,350) (article 6 (6), 9.).

        The same rules apply to a candidate, or natural persons or groups of people supporting a candidate, running for federal president (law on the election of the federal president, article 24 (5), 8 and 9., as amended in 2012).

        The respective provisions have constitutional status and can only be amended with a 2/3 majority.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the Federal President 1971, § 24a (5), 8 (as amended in 2012), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        11
        Score
        NO
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        The Political Parties Act recognizes distinguishes between different types of contributions – donations, sponsorship and advertisement. Some in-kind contributions other than sponsorships or advertisement in party newspapers have to be reported as a donation. For each of the three categories, different reporting requirements apply.

        In its annual statement of accounts, the party shall separately state the income from in kind benefits (§ 6 (4)) only if they exceed 3500 euros ($4662 USD) in value. This means that there is no information if the donation by a donor was in cash or provided as a (valuated) in kind benefit.

        Individual donations (including in kind donations) of more than EUR 50,000 euros ($66,595 USD) shall be immediately reported to the Court of Audit. The Court of Audit shall immediately publish the donations, including the name and address of the donor, on its website.

        A donation is defined as "any payment, benefit in kind or living subsidy that natural or legal persons grant to a. a political party, or b. a campaigning party that is not a political party, or c. a branch of a political party with its own legal personality, or d. an affiliated organization (...), or e. members of parliament who stood for elections on a list of candidates submitted by a political party, or f. candidates who stood for elections on a list of candidates submitted by a political party, without corresponding consideration." However, the following contributions shall not be deemed donations: "membership fees, contributions by members of parliament and officials belonging to the relevant party, subsidies from professional associations and trade associations and other bodies representing the interests of its members with voluntary membership (...) as well as subsidies from statutory professional bodies representing the interests of their members to groups represented in their executive bodies" (§2 (5)).

        Sponsorship is defined as "any payment, benefit in kind or living subsidy by a natural or legal person (...) with the aim to promote the natural or legal person’s name, appearance, activities or services by hiring stands, in particular at events of the persons or organisations [referred to above], or using the logo or company name, in particular on invitation cards, notices of events or in the context of events; publications in media shall not be deemed sponsorship" (§2 (6)).

        Advertisement: "a publication, initiated in return for payment, benefits in kind or living subsidies, in media whose media owner is a political party" (§2 (7)).

        The Political Parties Act defines the following thresholds for reporting different types of contributions, including in-kind ones:

        "§ 6. (4) Donations whose total amount exceeds the amount of 3,500 euros ($4662 USD) in a calendar year (accounting year), including the name and address of the donor, shall be stated. Donations to federal, provincial and district organisations shall be aggregated."

        "§ 7. (1) In an annex to the statement of accounts (§ 5), every political party shall state income from sponsorships (§ 2 subpara 6) whose total amount exceeds the amount of 12,000 euros ($15,982 USD) in a calendar year (accounting year), including the name and address of the sponsor. Sponsorships for federal, provincial and district organisations shall be aggregated. (2) Every political party shall also state income from advertisements (§ 2 subpara 7) to the extent such income exceeds the amount of 3,500 euros ($4662 USD) in an individual case, including the name and address of the advertiser.

        The same requirements are in place for candidates running for President or persons and groups of persons supporting such a candidate.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on the Election of the Federal President 1971, Art. 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        NO
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Political parties have to disclose on separate budget lines revenues from loans and expenditures for the repayment of loans including costs related to loans in their annual balance sheet, according to the federal law on the financing of political parties, Article 5 (4). The law does not require any disclosure of individual loans and the sources or terms of those loans.

        There is no requirement for candidates running for federal president to report loans they receive.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]), § 5 (4), http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the Federal President 1971 (as amended in 2012), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
      More about category
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        13
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        NO
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        NO
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        There is no limit on contributions from private corporations. The Political Parties Act of 2012 bans parties from accepting donations made by corporations and institutions in which the state has ownership of 25 per cent or more (§ 6 (6) 5). The same rules apply to presidential candidates (Law on the Election of the President, 1971, as amended in 2012, §24a (5) 5).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties Act (2012), (Parteiengesetz 2012), §6, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=20007889 English translation: http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf

        Law on the Election of the President, 1971, as amended in 2012 (Bundespräsidentenwahlgesetz 1971 – BPräsWG), §24a (5) 5, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        Political parties must not accept donations from "foreign natural or legal persons, if the donation exceeds EUR 2,500" (USD 3,375), according to the federal law on the financing of political parties, article 6 (6), line 6. The same rule applies to candidates, or natural persons or groups of people supporting a candidate, running for president (law on the election of the federal president, article 24a (5), 6, as amended in 2012).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the Federal President 1971, § 24a (5), 6 (as amended in 2012), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        NO
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        YES
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        The Law on the Financing of Political Parties limits expenditures per election and party to EUR 7 million (USD 9.45 million). The same EUR 7 million limit was introduced for candidates running in presidential elections, and persons or group of persons supporting their campaigns (Federal Act on the Election of the Federal President 1971, Art. 24a, as amended in 2012).

        Political Parties Act "§ 4. (1): Every political party may expend a maximum of 7 million euros [USD 9.45 million] for election campaigning between the qualifying date for the election and the day of the election for a general representative body or the European Parliament. If the same list of candidates is supported by two or more political parties,the maximum amount shall apply to the aggregated expenses of those parties. The maximum amount shall also include the expenses of individual candidates who stood for the election on a list of candidates submitted by the political party, but expenses of a candidate for election campaigning adjusted to his or her personal campaign of up to an amount of 15,000 euros [USD 20,250] shall not be taken into account.

        (2) Expenses for election campaigning shall, in particular, include: 1. outdoor advertising, in particular posters, 2. bulk mail and direct advertising, 3. folders, 4. election campaign gifts for distribution, 5. advertisements and advertising in print media, radio and audiovisual media, 6. cinema spots, 7. gross costs for party-owned media, to the extent they are disseminated in a higher circulation or larger number than in non-election campaign times, 8. costs of the online advertising presence, 9. costs of the communications, media, advertising, direct advertising, event, media placement, PR and similar agencies and call centers contracted for the election campaign, 10. additional personnel costs, 11. expenses of the political party for the candidates, 12. expenses of the political party for natural persons and groups of persons to support a candidate."

        The law envisages the following sanctions for parties exceeding the spending limit: "§ 10 (8) In the event the maximum amount regulated in § 4 is exceeded by up to 25%, a monetary penalty in the amount of up to 10% of the excess amount shall be imposed. If the limit of 25% is exceeded, the monetary penalty shall be increased by up to 20% of this second excess amount."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on the Election of the Federal President 1971, Art. 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        Austria is a federal system consisting of nine federal provinces (Vienna being one of them). The political finance regulations laid out in the Political Parties Act are applicable to all parties, including those active (only) on the provincial, district or local level. Provincial legislation governs the award of public funding on the regional level, and in some cases also on the district/local level.

        While in 2013, political parties received public funding for their club and party activities of EUR 67.13 million (USD 90.62 million) on the federal level, they received EUR 128.51 million (USD 173.48 million) on the provincial level, on top of additional public funding that is paid out on the district/local level (Sickinger 2013, p. 218).

        Article 3 of the Political Parties Act of 2012 introduces a corridor for regional and local public funding for political parties. If public funding is provided by a province (which all provinces do), the funding has to be at least EUR 3.1 (USD 4.185) per eligible voter but not more than EUR 22 (USD 29.7) per eligible voter, if provincial and district fund is aggregated and both regulated by provincial legislation (which is only the case in two provinces). There is significant funding to parties represented in decision making bodies on the municipal level, but this funding is in most cases not regulated by provincial legislation (Politicial Parties Act 2012, Sickinger 2013, p. 170-171).

        The Political Parties Act allows provincial legislation to be stricter than the national one in terms of the contributions that can be received and related reporting requirements (Art. 6, Para. 10; Art. 7, Para. 4). After the adoption of the Political Parties Act in 2012, provinces passed new legislation to comply with its requirements, several provinces so far have adopted significantly stricter rules than exist on the national level, including:

        Carinthia: A party must not exceed the expenditure limit of EUR 500,000 (USD 675,000), whereby up to 36 candidates can claim an exemption of each EUR 2,500 (USD 3,375) for their personal campaign expenditures – four campaigns spent beyond this limit in the 2013 provincial elections (Cartinthian Political Parties Support Act, Sickinger 2013, p. 175-179). However, only one of the parties – Team Stronach – was sanctioned for exceeding the limit, and lost its public funding for 2014, worth EUR 998,000 (USD 1,347,000). Because the provincial law states that "a party" must not exceed the spending limit, the Social Democrats (SPÖ), which spent funds through its parliamentary club; the People's Party (ÖVP), which spent through its associated business association, and the Freedom Party (FPÖ), which channeled spending through an advertising agency it owns, all were found to not have violated the limit (Kurier).

        Salzburg: The province introduced a stricter expenditure limit, according to which each party represented in the provincial parliament were not allowed to spend more than EUR 1,523,266 (USD 2.056 million) in the six months before the 2013 provincial elections – amount equal to one third of the total public funding to parties dispersed by the region. Salzburg's legislation also requires that all donations of more than EUR 500 (USD 675) are disclosed (contributions to party entities on the local, district and provincial level have to be aggregated) and reported to the province's Court of Audit by 30 September of the next year, which has to publish the contributions online – lawyers of the provincial government apparently were of the opinion that the region could not involve the federal Court of Audit in verifying stricter disclosure mechanisms; entities in which the province or municipalities hold 25 per cent or more are not allowed to advertise in publications of political parties. In case contributions are not properly disclosed, the provincial government, upon being informed by the provincial Court of Audit, can decide to withhold public funding of twice the amount that was not properly disclosed to sanction the violation (Salzburg Political Parties Support Act 2012; Sickinger 2013, p. 186-190).

        The regulation in Salzburg also requires parties represented in the provincial parliament to seek to find an agreement with the other parties to ensure a clean campaign and to keep campaign expenditures as low as possible. Ahead of the 2013 provincial elections, four out of five major parties agreed to a voluntary expenditure limit of EUR 1 million (USD 1.35 million) (Wiener Zeitung).

        Tyrol: contributions exceeding EUR 15,000 (USD 20,250) have to be immediately reported to the (federal) Court of Audit, which has to disclose them, contributions of more than EUR 1,000 (USD 1,350) have to be disclosed in an appendix to the annual account; cash donations and contributions from non-Austrian citizens or entities exceeding EUR 1,000 (USD 1,350) must not be accepted. (Tyrol Political Parties Support Act; Sickinger 2013, p. 197-197).

        Vorarlberg: Parties have to submit audited annual accounts by the end of June of the following year to the provincial government (which has to publish it in the provincial gazette), including a list of all income and expenditure, a list of contributions and donors exceeding EUR 1,000 (USD 1,350), and a list of consulting firms and advertising agencies which received more than EUR 1,000 (USD 1,350) in contracts from the party. Furthermore, parties are banned from accepting any anonymous donations, or donations that were apparently made on behalf of a third person. As a sanction for non-compliance with the reporting requirements, one year worth of public funding can be recalled by the province. In case a donation was not reported appropriately, the same amount can be withheld from future public funds to the respective party (Vorarlberg Political Parties Support Act, Sickinger 2013, p. 197-201).

        Because the provincial party finance regulation was only introduced in 2012, and first applied in several regional elections in 2013, it is not possible to determine all potential gaps in the framework, as party had not filed their audited annual reports for 2013 at the time this survey was completed.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Hubert Sickinger: Political Money – Party Financing and Public Control in Austria (Politisches Geld – Parteienfinanzierung und öffentliche Kontrolle in Österreich), 2013

        Cartinthian Political Parties Support Act (Kärnter Parteienförderungsgesetz), 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=LrK&Gesetzesnummer=10000130

        Salzburg Political Parties Support Act (Salzburger Parteienförderungsgesetz), 2012, http://service.salzburg.gv.at/publix/Index?cmd=dokumentansehen&prodextern=true&veroeffentlichungid=4076&gruppeldap=lgbl

        Tyrol Political Parties Support Act (Tiroler Parteienförderungsgesetz), 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=LrT&Gesetzesnummer=20000529

        Vorarlberg Political Parties Support Act (Vorarlberger Parteienförderungsgesetz), 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/Lgbl/LGBLVO2012071052/LGBLVO2012071052.html

        Wiener Zeitung: Governing parties with highest campaign costs (Regierungsparteien bei Wahlkampfkosten obenauf), 12 April 2013, www.wienerzeitung.at/nachrichten/wahlen/landtagswahlen/salzburg/lwsalzburg2013/538737_Regierungsparteien-bei-Wahlkampfkosten-obenauf.html

        Kurier: Carinthia remains different when it comes to money ("Kärnten bleibt beim Geld anders"), Rudolf Cijan, 24 September 2013, kurier.at/politik/inland/wahl2013/kaernten-bleibt-beim-geld-anders/28.189.767

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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The relevance of different sources of funding for campaigns varies from party to party. In the 2013 elections to the National Council, several new parties participated, who previously did not have access to public funding. For parties that were already represented in the National Council, public funding accounted for the largest part of the overall campaign funding. However, a detailed picture of the funding sources will only become available after the Court of Audit releases detailed annual accounts for 2013, which political parties have to submit to the Court by 30 September 2014.

        Most parties take loans, either from banks or wealthy supporters, ahead of elections to fund their campaigns. These loans are usually paid back over several years, including by using public funding.

        Both, the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) and the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), have a number of businesses that were historically affiliated with them, but are not tied officially to the party (such as Raiffeisen cooperative society, which controls vast assets in agriculture, banking, and media, among other sectors, and has close historic ties to the ÖVP). In practice, these businesses have often been more important in terms of providing campaign contributions, than companies directly owned by parties (Sickinger 2013, p. 103).

        The SPÖ, ÖVP and also the opposition Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) have directly or indirectly owned several companies each, including advertising agencies, outdoor advertising companies (which own billboards), newspapers and publishing/printing houses. Because donations to political parties are not tax deductible in Austria, businesses have often preferred to indirectly fund a party by awarding a contract to a company it owns, allowing the company to deduct the payment from its tax obligation as a business expense. Because this allows also state entities, who are banned from directly donating to a party, to indirectly contribute to a campaign, parties in 2014 for the first time have to submit lists of all companies owned by them to the Court of Audit, while all public bodies under supervision of the Court of Audit have to now annually report all payments made to these companies (Sickinger 2013, p.79, 104).

        The SPÖ and the ÖVP both have several hundred thousand members, the FPÖ has an estimated 40,000. Membership fees, as well as "party taxes" paid by public officials (members of the National, regional and local councils and governments) to their respective party are also relevant sources of general income for these parties, but no detailed, current numbers of these amounts are available (Sickinger 2013, p. 68-78).

        Major Austrian parties also receive relevant indirect contributions from "social partners" – the chamber of commerce (Wirtschaftskammer), the chamber of labor (Arbeiterkammer) and various other sectoral representations (all of which have mandatory membership), as well as the trade union association (ÖBG, voluntary membership). These associations are non-partisan, but the various parties are represented in them with their own fractions, which receive funding (direct contributions of these associations to political parties are banned since 2012). This funding largely remains in the respective representations, but can also be used to fund advertising campaigns in party-owned publications or to contract companies linked with the party (Sickinger 2013, p.96). The ÖVP has also received funding from the Association of Industry (Industriellenvereinigung – IV) in the past, but due to insufficient disclosure rules until 2012, the extent of this funding remains unclear. Even under stricter disclosure rules, which came into force in 2012 and will yield practical results only in late 2014, finances of parties' fractions in these chambers and associations are exempted from disclosure and will thus remain opaque (Sickinger 2013, p. 90).

        In 2013, the Austrian-Canadian billionaire businessman Frank Stronach funded the campaign for the National Council elections of his party, Team Stronach, out of his own pocket. It was the first time the party participated in an election, the party thus did not have previous access to public funding. Stronach donated EUR 9.469 million (USD 12.78 million) to the party in the first months of 2013, according to data released by the Court of Audit. Then, Stronach awarded loans to the party, which, unlike donations, did not have to be disclosed immediately to the Court of Audit. These loans were transformed into donations after the elections. In total, Stronach made large contributions (over EUR 50,000/USD 67,500) with an aggregate value of EUR 22.17 million (USD 29.9 million) to Team Stronach in 2013 and the first half of 2014 (Court of Audit website).

        NEOS, a newly formed liberal party, received contributions of EUR 1.847 million in 2013. For its campaign, the party did not have access to public funds. A major source of campaign funding was provided by the businessman Hans-Peter Haselsteiner, who contributed large donations with an aggregate value of close to EUR 650,000 (USD 877,000) in 2013 (Court of Audit website). The party also took bank loans of EUR 600,000 (USD 810,000) as well as loans from private individuals of EUR 165,000 (USD 223,000). The remaining funds were raised through more than 1,250 individual donations and member ship fees (NEOS website).

        The Greens (Grüne) likely financed their 2013 campaign largely through public funding, possibly with minor revenues coming from membership fees. The party has received hardly any significant outside contributions in past years. The only apparent exception: the car manufacturer Opel (GM) provided the party with an electric car for the year of the campaign (Sickinger, Greens Website). In 2010, three candidates ran to become President. As there is no direct public funding for presidential races, candidates financed their campaigns through contributions from political parties and donations. Heinz Fischer, the incumbent who was running for a second term, was endorsed by the Social Democrats. The party reportedly contributed around EUR 1 million (USD 1.35 million) to his campaign, with about another million Euro being raised by the campaign, including through fundraising dinners. The campaign of Barbara Rosenkranz was reportedly fully funded by the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) with approximately EUR 1.5 million (USD 2 million). The third candidate, Rudolf Gehring, representing the fringe Christian Party of Austria, funded his campaign through smaller donations and contributions with an aggregate value of approximately EUR 100,000 (USD 135,000) (Nachrichten.at/APA).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Court of Audit (Rechnungshof): Party donations ("Parteispenden"), accessed 10 August, 2014, http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/sonderaufgaben/parteiengesetz/parteispenden.html

        Hubert Sickinger: Political Money – Party Financing and Public Control in Austria (Politisches Geld – Parteienfinanzierung und öffentliche Kontrolle in Österreich), 2013

        Dr. Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        NEOS website, accessed 10 August, 2014, https://neos.eu/transparenz/

        Greens website, annual accounts of federal and regional party branches (2010 to 2012), accessed 10 August 2014, https://www.gruene.at/themen/kontrolle/gruene-legen-offen-glaeserne-parteikassen-bund-laender-2012/glaeserne-parteikassen-bund-laender-2010-12.pdf; agreement between the Greens and Opel: https://www.gruene.at/themen/kontrolle/wir-bleiben-sauber-und-legen-alles-offen/opel.pdf.

        Nachrichten.at/APA: Federal President: How the election campaigns are financed ("Bundespräsident: So wird der Wahlkampf finanziert"), 9 April 2010, http://www.nachrichten.at/nachrichten/ticker/Bundespraesident-So-wird-der-Wahlkampf-finanziert;art449,367475

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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        Data released by Focus Research, a company that monitors gross advertising spending for billboards, TV, radio, print media, online and cinema, suggests that two parties exceeded the EUR 7 million (USD 9.45 million) expenditure limit during the run-up to the 2013 National Council elections. Team Stronach had gross advertising expenditures of EUR 10.6 million (USD 14.3 million), while the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) spent EUR 7.1 million (USD 9.6), according to Focus Research. The data does not account for any discounts parties may have received (Kurier/APA). As the Focus data does not include spending for direct mailing efforts, campaign events, campaign staff and web presence (Sickinger), it appears likely that the SPÖ exceeded the expenditure limit by even more than reported. However, the Social Democrats said that they did not exceed the expenditure limit with their campaign (Kurier/APA).

        If and to what extend parties exceeded expenditure limits or violated contribution limits will finally be established after parties submitted their annual accounts and details on their campaign contributions to the Court of Audit by 30 September, 2014.

        The Greens (Grüne) highlighted during a televised debate with Chancellor Werner Faymann (SPÖ) that his Social Democrats had used their parliamentary club to fund their nationwide billboard campaign – the posters carried an imprint, stating that the SPÖ's parliamentary club was responsible for them. This was an apparent violation of the ban on accepting campaign contributions from a party's parliamentary club (ORF.at). The Social Democrats acknowledged the wrongdoing and stated that the party rather than the parliamentary club would pay for the billboard campaign (DiePresse.com).

        Other parties apparently used a similar approach: The Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) apparently also had their parliamentary clubs contribute to campaign activities by running print ads (ORF.at, Sickinger 2013). A FPÖ brochure mailed to households listed the party's parliamentary club as the sender (Sickinger 2013).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources

        Kurier/APA: Team Stronach spent the most ("Team Stronach gab am meisten aus"), 19 October 2013, kurier.at/politik/inland/wahlkampfkosten-team-stronach-gab-am-meisten-aus/31.640.418

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Magdalena Reinberg, office manager, Transparency International – Austrian Chapter, 9 August 2014

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Hubert Sickinger: Campaign finance ("Wahlkampffinanzierung"): in Thomas Hofer/ Barbara Tóth (publishers): Wahl 2013. Macht, Medien, Milliardäre, Vienna, 2013, p. 213-236.

        ORF.at: Violation of transparency law? ("Verstoß gegen Transparenzgesetz?"), 10 September 2013, orf.at/stories/2197945/2197953/

        Ö1: Campaign ads also through other party clubs ("Wahlwerbung auch durch andere Parteiklubs"), Wolfgang Werth, 11 September 2013, oe1.orf.at/artikel/351295

        DiePresse.com: SPÖ-posters illegal, party revises position ("SPÖ-Plakate illegal, Partei rudert zurück"), Philipp Aichinger, 11 September 2013, diepresse.com/home/politik/nrwahl2013/1451178/SPOPlakate-illegal-Partei-rudert-zuruck

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Every political party has to file an annual audited account with revenues and expenditures each broken down into 14 categories (see below). The statement of accounts has to be signed by two separate auditors. This statement shall also include the branches of the political party that do not have their own legal personality. The statement of accounts shall be divided into two parts, the first part stating the income and expenses of the federal organization and the second part stating those of its territorial branches (provincial, district, municipal organizations) (...) the part of the statement about the district and municipal organizations shall include a comparison of the total amount of income and expenses." (Political Parties Act, Art. 5 (1)). A list of the names of the territorial branches (provincial, district, municipal organizations) that are covered in the second part of the statement of accounts shall be enclosed with the statement of accounts.

        In addition, they have to file itemized lists with itemized revenues if these contributions were donations or ads in party-owned media of more than EUR 3,500 (USD 4,725) or if the revenue is from sponsoring activities with an aggregate value of more than EUR 12,000 (USD 16,200) from a specific source over the course of the year. (Art. 6).

        Political parties, with their annual accounts, also have to file a list of companies "in which the party and/or an affiliated organization and/or a branch of the party with its own legal personality holds at least 5% direct shares or 10% indirect shares or voting rights shall be attached to the statement of accounts" (Art. 5 (6)).

        "Proof with regard to the restriction on campaign expenses shall be presented in a separate section in the statement of accounts referring to the election year." (Art. 5, (3)).

        The statement of accounts shall separately state at least the following types of income and revenue (Art 5 (4): 1. membership fees, 2. payments by affiliated organizations, 3. subsidies, 4. contributions by members of parliament and officials belonging to the relevant party, 5. revenue from commercial activities by the party itself, 6. revenue from shareholdings in undertakings, 7. income from other assets, 8. donations (with the exception of subparas 11 and 12), 9. revenue from events, the production and sale of publications as well as similar revenue resulting directly from party activities, 10. income from sponsorships and advertisements, 11. income in the form of staff supplied free of charge or without corresponding remuneration (living subsidies), 12. benefits in kind, 13. the taking out of loans, 14. other revenue and income, with revenue and income exceeding 5% of the relevant annual income to be stated separately.

        (5) The statement of accounts shall separately state at least the following types of expenses: 1. personnel, 2. office expenses and purchases, with the exception of minor-value assets, 3. operating expenses for public relations activities, including press products, 4. events, 5. vehicle fleet, 6. other operating expenses for administration, 7. membership fees and international work, 8. legal, auditing and consultancy costs, 9. loan-related costs and repayments, 10. expenses for travel and trips, 11. payments to undertakings in which shares are held, 12. payments to affiliated organizations, 13. support of a candidate for the election of the Federal President, 14. other types of expenses, with expenses exceeding 5% of the relevant annual expenses to be stated separately.

        In an election year, political parties also have to proof that they have not exceeded the spending limit of EUR 7 million (USD 9.45 million). However, the law does not specify whether this has to be done by submitting itemized expenditures or solely through a letter of the party’s auditors. "Proof with regard to the restriction on campaign expenses shall be presented in a separate section in the statement of accounts referring to the election year." (Art. 5, (3)). This proof has to be submitted by September 30 of the year following the election.

        Similarly, presidential candidates (or persons or groups of persons supporting their campaign) have to submit a list of donations and contributions, as described above for political parties, and have to prove that they have not exceeded the EUR 7 million (USD 9.45 million) expenditure limit. The audited documentation has to be submitted within three months of election day. (Law on the Election of the President, Art. 24a (9)).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the President 1971 (Bundespräsidentenwahlgesetz 1971), § 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        22
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        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        There are no comprehensive reporting requirements during the campaign period in Austria.

        Political parties have to report individual contributions of EUR 50,000 (USD 67,500) "without delay" to the Court of Audit, which then has to publish the name of the donor, the date the donation was reported, and the address of the donor on its website (Political Parties Act, 2012, Art. 6 (5)).

        All other finances and contributions above certain thresholds (EUR 3,500/USD 4,725 for donations and ads, EUR 12,000/USD 16,200 for sponsoring) have to be disclosed in the annual filings of the party, which have to be submitted to the Court of Audit by 30 September of the following year (Art. 5. (7)).

        Presidential candidates have to disclose individual donations and contributions of more than EUR 50,000 (USD 67,500) on the website of the candidate (or of the group of people or committee that supports the candidate), no later than one week before the election. This disclosure has to include the name and the address of the donor (Art. 24a (4)).

        Candidates running for president and individuals and groups of people who support a candidate have to document all received contributions exceeding the thresholds (of EUR 3,500/USD 4,725 for donations and ads, and EUR 12,000/USD 16,200 for sponsoring) in separate lists. The lists have to be checked and signed by an auditor and have to be submitted to the Court of Audit no later than three months after the election (Art. 24a (10)), and have be published on the candidate’s website, while the Court of Audit will also publish it after checking the submitted documents for apparent mistakes.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]), Art. 5 (7), 6 (5), http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the President 1971 (Bundespräsidentenwahlgesetz 1971), § 24a (4) and (10), as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        23
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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Every political party has to file an annual audited account with revenues and expenditures each broken down into 14 categories. The statement of accounts has to be signed by two separate auditors. This statement shall also include the branches of the political party that do not have their own legal personality. The statement of accounts shall be divided into two parts, the first part stating the income and expenses of the federal organization and the second part stating those of its territorial branches (provincial, district, municipal organizations) (...) the part of the statement about the district and municipal organizations shall include a comparison of the total amount of income and expenses." (Political Parties Act, Art. 5 (1)). A list of the names of the territorial branches (provincial, district, municipal organizations) that are covered in the second part of the statement of accounts shall be enclosed with the statement of accounts.

        "Proof with regard to the restriction on campaign expenses shall be presented in a separate section in the statement of accounts referring to the election year." (Art. 5, (3)).

        Political parties, with their annual accounts, also have to file a list of companies "in which the party and/or an affiliated organization and/or a branch of the party with its own legal personality holds at least 5% direct shares or 10% indirect shares or voting rights shall be attached to the statement of accounts" (Art. 5 (6)).

        Because candidates for President run as individuals, they do not have to file annual financial reports in non-election years.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]), Art. 5, http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the President 1971 (Bundespräsidentenwahlgesetz 1971), § 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        24
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        0
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        There is no legal requirement for political parties to provide regular data on their itemized finances. The reporting frequency is annual. At the time the research was carried out (July/August 2014), political parties had still time to submit their audited annual statements for 2013 and data on donations and other contributions they received that year to the Court of Audit. The deadline for filing audited annual financial statements in September of the next calendar year. No political party represented in Parliament published an audited annual account on its website. The reports filed by parties and candidates during campaigns are not itemized.

        At the time of the last presidential elections (2010), there was no legal requirement for candidates and/or their support groups to publish any financial information. None of the candidates released a detailed account of contributions and expenditures.

        Among the political parties in Parliament, only NEOS publishes an itemized account of contributions and expenditures online, the data appears to be updated at least every few weeks. (NEOS Website)

        The Greens published information on broader expenditure lines during their 2013 national campaign, but did not provide detailed information on contributions or other revenues. The party states it discloses each contribution of more than EUR 1,000, but has not reported such a contribution in the past three years, possibly because it has received none. (Greens website)

        The Pirate Party (it ran nationwide in the September 2013 National Council Elections and received 0.8% of the vote and is not represented in Parliament) a publishes timely, detailed data on all received donations and in-kind contributions and itemized expenditures, as well as bank transactions and data on their bank accounts, PayPal accounts etc. (Pirate Party website)

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Anton Lerchner, communication and parliamentary relations, Der Rechnungshof (Court of Audit), communication on 12 August 2014

        Website of the Court of Audit (Rechnungshof), section on party finance, http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/sonderaufgaben/parteiengesetz.html Website of NEOS, https://neos.eu/transparenz/ Website of the Austrian Pirate Party, https://finanzen.piratenpartei.at/. Websites of the Greens, http://www.gruene.at/themen/kontrolle/wir-bleiben-sauber-und-legen-alles-offen. Website of the Austrian People's Party, http://www.oevp.at/, ÖVP's financial report for second half of 2012, http://www.oevp.at/down.load?file=img-131002131818.pdf Website of the Social Democratic Party of Austria, http://spoe.at/. Website of the Austrian Freedom Party, http://www.fpoe.at/. Website of Team Stronach, http://www.teamstronach.at/. Archive search of leading Austrian news sources. (All websites accessed 1 August 2014)

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        0
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        Political parties still had time to submit audited annual accounts, as well as lists of contributions and donors for the year 2013 to the Court of Audit at the time this survey was finalized. The deadline the submission of annual financial reports is September 30 of the following year.

        The most up to date financial disclosure of political parties available in mid-August 2014 were the annual accounts for the year 2012, published in the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung in September/October 2013. The annual accounts of the two ruling parties SPÖ and ÖVP neither contained itemized contributions nor names and unique identifiers of any donor.

        Meanwhile, several parties voluntarily release data on their finances: NEOS and the Pirate Party (Piratenpartei, not represented in parliament) publish detailed accounts of their expenditures and revenues (only names of donors, no unique identifiers) in an itemized open format, including in-kind contributions; the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) released a financial account for the second half of 2012 only, listing several major contributors with name and address.

        There are no financial reports available from candidates who ran in the 2010 presidential election, as there were no reporting requirements mandated by law at the time.


        Peer reviewer comment: Based on information by party managers of the provincial parties of SPÖ and ÖVP (these are the two parties where the national party organization never had an overview on the budgets of their provincial and district organizations and at the same time are the parties with the highest amounts of donations and in kind contributions) as well as functionaries of NEOS and Greens, these parties voluntarily set up comprehensive reporting systems for donations on all levels of the party structure in late 2013.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Anton Lerchner, communication and parliamentary relations, Der Rechnungshof (Court of Audit), communication on 12 August 2014

        Wiener Zeitung, Official Gazette, 28 September 2013, http://www.wienerzeitung.at/showpdf/?ID=9491&search=Sozialdemokratische#search=%22Sozialdemokratische%22 Wiener Zeitung, Official Gazette, 1 October 2013, p.36, http://www.wienerzeitung.at/showpdf/?ID=9494&search=Rechenschaftsbericht#search=%22Rechenschaftsbericht%22

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
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        26
        Score
        YES
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        Audited annual accounts of political parties have to be published online after being reviewed and accepted by the Court of Audit: "If the Court of Audit determines that the statement of accounts meets the requirements (§ 5), the statement of accounts including the lists of donations, sponsorships and advertisements, and the list of undertakings in which shares are held as referred to in § 5 para 6, and the volume of the legal transactions entered into by such undertakings with institutions subject to the supervision of the Court of Audit in the reporting year shall be published, separated according to the individual parties and undertakings, on the website of the Court of Audit and the website of the political party." (Political Parties Act, Art. 10 (3))

        The same principle holds true for financial information about contributions to presidential campaigns. Once the candidates, or groups supporting them, have submitted audited lists of contributions to the Court of Audit, and the Court has approved them, the Court of Audit as well as the candidate (or the group supporting the candidate) have to publish the information on their respective websites (Law on the Election of the President, as amended in 2013, Art 10 (12).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Law on the Election of the President, as amended in 2013, Art 10 (12), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494.

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        27
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        25
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Political parties until last year published their audited annual accounts in the official gazette, the state-owned Wiener Zeitung. The annual accounts for the year 2012 were published in late September and early October 2013. The official gazette is available for download as a PDF file, whereby it is de facto impossible to extract the relevant sections through copy&paste in order to use the data further. The information is thus not published in a machine-readable format. The most recent years of the official gazette are available online free of charge, but for users it is not easy to find the information, for example by using search engines. Finding the information requires a committed and focused search effort, and the knowledge that the data was published in the official gazette.

        Contributions of more than EUR 50,000 (USD 67,500) are published immediately by the Court of Audit in a standardized format. The data is easy to find on the website of the Court of Audit and is released as a regularly updated HTML table (which can easily be scraped with one command into a Google Spreadsheet). Although the data is not published in a truly machine-readable format, it can fairly easily be used for further processing and analysis (Court of Audit website).

        Some parties also publish the annual accounts in different formats – usually as images or scanned documents – on their websites. NEOS releases itemized financial data on its website in HTML format, and also releases the data in machine-readable format to an open data portal; the Pirate Party has detailed, structured financial information in HTML format on its website.

        There is no data available data from the 2010 presidential campaign, as there were no reporting requirements in place at the time.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Julian Ausserhofer, open data activist with the Open Knowledge Foundation Austria, interview on 12 August 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Open Data Portal, http://data.opendataportal.at/dataset?organization=neos-das-neue-osterreich

        Wiener Zeitung, Official Gazette, 28 September 2013, http://www.wienerzeitung.at/showpdf/?ID=9491&search=Sozialdemokratische#search=%22Sozialdemokratische%22

        Wiener Zeitung, Official Gazette, 1 October 2013, p.36, http://www.wienerzeitung.at/showpdf/?ID=9494&search=Rechenschaftsbericht#search=%22Rechenschaftsbericht%22

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        The audited annual accounts of political parties for the year 2012 were the most recent financial information available at the time the survey was conducted. The data for parties that received public funds on the federal level that year was published in PDF format in the official gazette of the state-owned daily newspaper Wiener Zeitung in late September 2013 over several days. Each party's annual account contains largely similar lines – between 7 and 10 lines of different types of revenues, and between 10 and 13 different lines for various types of expenditures. Because not all lines have identical names across different parties' accounts, and because at times lines are missing, it is difficult but not completely impossible to compare the data. However, because of the sparse, vague regulation that was in force until 2012, the data is neither very detailed nor meaningful (Wiener Zeitung).

        Contributions of more than EUR 50,000 (USD 67,500) are published by the Court of Audit in a standardized format. The data is released in an HTML table (which can easily be scraped with one command into a Google Spreadsheet), containing the date the donation was reported, the amount/value of the contribution, the name of the donor (either a natural or a legal person), the address of the donor, and the recipient party (Court of Audit website).

        A representative of the Court of Audit stated that at the time the survey was conducted, it was still undetermined in what format the Court would be able to publish the data online. The Political Parties Act of 2012 does not contain any requirements regarding the format of files in which parties have to submit their documents to the Court of Audit. It thus appears likely that much of the documents and information parties will have to disclose will not be fully standardized and somewhat difficult to compare across parties. By September 30, parties have to submit their annual accounts, lists of donations and contributions, as well as proof that they did not exceed the campaign expenditure limit, and lists of companies they own, to the Court of Audit and also publish the documents on their own website. The Court will also release the documents, after checking them for apparent mistakes. This process will take place for the first time in 2014, in compliance with the Political Parties Act of 2012.

        Two parties that ran in the 2013 National Council elections – NEOS and the Pirate Party (which did not pass the 4 per cent threashold) – release standardized data on their revenues, contributions and expenditures online (NEOS website, Pirate Party website).

        No financial data exists for the three candidates who ran for President in 2010, as there were no reporting requirements in place at the time.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources

        Julian Ausserhofer, open data activist with the Open Knowledge Foundation Austria, interview on 12 August 2014

        Anton Lerchner, communication and parliamentary relations, Der Rechnungshof (Court of Audit), communication on 12 August 2014

        Wiener Zeitung, Official Gazette, 28 September 2013, http://www.wienerzeitung.at/showpdf/?ID=9491&search=Sozialdemokratische#search=%22Sozialdemokratische%22

        Wiener Zeitung, Official Gazette, 1 October 2013, p.36, http://www.wienerzeitung.at/showpdf/?ID=9494&search=Rechenschaftsbericht#search=%22Rechenschaftsbericht%22

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Court of Audit: Contributions to Paries, http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/sonderaufgaben/parteiengesetz/parteispenden.html

        Pirate Party website, https://finanzen.piratenpartei.at

        NEOS party website, https://neos.eu/transparenz/

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        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        There are a number of mainstream media outlets who regularly report on party financing and utilize data on reported donations that are published on an ongoing bases by the Court of Audit, despite the fact that until now fairly limited data has been available.

        Party financing issues are regularly covered by the Austrian Public Broadcaster's Radio Ö1, which airs influential extended newscasts ("Journale") in the morning, at noon and at 18:00.

        The Austrian Press Agency (which is co-owned by the ORF and a number of important publishing houses and daily newspapers) also provides detailed, in-depth coverage of any new data and relevant developments. Its reports are then widely republished by daily newspapers and their online editions, including Der Standard, Die Presse, Kurier, Wiener Zeitung, Salzburger Nachrichten and Kleine Zeitung, which at times add some original coverage, analysis and commentary to the APA's reporting.

        At times, also yellow-press outlets cover data on party contributions, as the Austrian public has become somewhat sensitive to the issue, following a series of corruption scandals, a number of which also included often dubious (although at the time often not illegal) party financing schemes.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August, 2014

        Magdalena Reinberg, office manager, Transparency International – Austrian Chapter, 9 August 2014

        Ö1: National Council election: Few large donations to parties (NR-Wahl: Wenig Großspenden an Parteien), Wolfgang Wert, 12 June 2013, oe1.orf.at/artikel/342855

        Kurier.at: Stronach wants his millions back (Stronach will seine Millionen zurück), 3 October 2013, kurier.at/politik/inland/team-stronach-stronach-will-seine-millionen-zurueck/29.490.463

        Salzburg.com (APA): Stronach transforms millions in loans into donations (Stronach wandelt Millionen-Darlehen in Spenden um), 7 February 2014, www.salzburg.com/nachrichten/oesterreich/politik/sn/artikel/stronach-wandelt-millionen-darlehen-in-spenden-um-93546/

        DerStandard.at/APA: Team Stronach: debt of Carinthian provincial party cancelled (Team Stronach: Schuldenerlass für Kärntner Landespartei), 10 May 2014, derstandard.at/1399507128833/Team-Stronach-Schuldenerlass-fuer-Kaerntner-Landesparteiderstandard.at/1399507128833/Team-Stronach-Schuldenerlass-fuer-Kaerntner-Landespartei

        DerStandard.at/APA: Stronach hands over another five million (Stronach lässt wieder fünf Millionen springen), 22 October 2013, http://derstandard.at/1381369379882/Stronach-laesst-wieder-fuenf-Millionen-springen

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        25
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        During a live televised debate between Eva Glawischnig, head of the Greens (Grüne) and Chancellor Werner Faymann of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), Glawischnig highlighted that a nationwide billboard advertising campaign by the SPÖ carried the imprint of the social democrats' parliamentary club (ORF.at, DerStandard.at).

        Observers as well as the Social Democratic party admitted that the party had violated the ban on accepting contributions from parliamentary groups, as defined in the Political Parties Act, Art. 6, Para. 6. The SPÖ then stated that the party itself, not its parliamentary group, would foot the bill for the campaign (ORF.at, DiePresse.com).

        The parliamentary clubs of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) had also run advertisements in newspapers that showed their party leaders and campaign slogans. Both parties argued that the ads were not a violation of spending regulation, because the heads of their parties were also heads of their parliamentary groups, and that the slogans made reference to Parliament (FPÖ) and mentioned a topic on which the party had filed a parliamentary initiative (BZÖ) (Ö1, Kurier).

        By August 2014, there were no indications that in any of these cases, the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel had imposed sanctions. Regarding the case involving the FPÖ, the Panel ruled that there was no basis to initiate a fine (it can only initiate investigations that would result in a fine after the Court of Audit forwards documents submitted by political parties in line with their annual financial reporting, which only has to be done by September 30, 2014), and that there was insufficient legal basis for a administrative sanction (FPÖ).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        ORF.at, "Violation of transparency law? ("Verstoß gegen Transparenzgesetz?")", 10 September 2013, orf.at/stories/2197945/2197953/

        DerStandard.at: "Greens report SPÖ for illegal party financing (Grüne zeigen SPÖ wegen illegaler Parteienfinanzierung an)", 10 September 2013, derstandard.at/1378248602711/Gruene-zeigen-SPOe-wegen-illegaler-Plakatfinanzierung-an

        DiePresse.com: SPÖ-posters illegal, party revises position ("SPÖ-Plakate illegal, Partei rudert zurück"), Philipp Aichinger, 11 September 2013, diepresse.com/home/politik/nrwahl2013/1451178/SPOPlakate-illegal-Partei-rudert-zuruck

        Ö1: Election-ads also by other part clubs (Wahlwerbung auch durch andere Parteiklubs), Wolfgang Werth, 11 September 2013, http://oe1.orf.at/artikel/351295

        Kurier.at: SPÖ threatened by multi-million fine? (Droht der SPÖ Millionenstrafe?), Maria Kern, 12 September 2013, kurier.at/politik/inland/illegale-klubspende-droht-der-spoe-millionenstrafe/26.370.566

        FPÖ: Decision by the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel, GZ 610.004/0005-UPTS/2013, http://www.fpoe.at/fileadmin/Content/portal/PDFs/2013/fpoeklubupts201306_12.pdf

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        100
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        There were no media report describing incidents of vote buying around the National Council elections 2013 or the presidential elections 2010. OSCE/ODIHR, which was the only registered election observation mission in both elections, did not note any cases of vote buying in either election. Interviews confirm that there were no reports of vote buying.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Nikolas Heigl, responsible for structure and organization, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum; Feri Thierry, executive director, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum, email-exchange, 7 August 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        OSCE/ODIHR: Austria, Presidential Election, 25 April 2010, Final Report, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/69071

        OSCE/ODIHR: Austria, Parliamentary Elections, 29 September 2013, Final Report, http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/109995

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        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        There is no civil society organization that has used party finance data for further analysis or advocacy. Transparency International Austria has advocated for improvements around party finance rules but has not published any analysis using available data. Interview sources confirmed this fact (Reinberg/Sickinger, who also serves on the Board of TI Austria).

        One interviewee said that the lack of an NGO working on party financing is somewhat problematic because the media does not have sufficient resources to scrutinize large amounts of documents in detail, and a civil society actor in this field would be able to make an important contribution.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources

        Magdalena Reinberg, office manager, Transparency International – Austrian Chapter, 9 August 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Website of Transparency International Austria, http://ti-austria.at/

        Website: http://www.meineabgeordneten.at/ ("My representatives")

        Website: http://wahlkabine.at/ ("Voting Booth")

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        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        In 2012, Parliament passed several laws, branded as a transparency package (Transparenz-Paket), as a reaction to a number of corruption scandals that had emerged in the years before, many of which dated back to the coalition between the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the People's Party (ÖVP) which governed Austria from 2000 to 2007. Many of these scandals involved apparent kick-back payments around privatizations and large procurement deals, as well as the direct and indirect misuse of public funds for questionable (not always illegal) party and campaign financing schemes.

        Key to the legal reform package was the Political Parties Act, which for the first time introduced substantial financial disclosure and accountability mechanisms for political parties – and, importantly, their various regional and local branches, affiliated entities, and candidates. At the same time, the public funding for political parties on the federal level was significantly increased with amendments to the Federal Act on Federal Support for Political Parties.

        In addition to the Political Parties Act, the Law on the Election of the President was amended, to include largely similar financial regulation also for candidates running for president, and for groups supporting those candidates.

        Changes to political finance regulation came into force in 2013, and only in late 2014, once parties have to for the first time submit their financial data to the Court of Audit, it will become clear to what extend the reform package covered all key areas that require transparency and accountability of party finance, and which loopholes remain. The drafting of the Political Parties Act was done in a rush within little more than two months, as a result the quality of the law leaves room for improvement (Sickinger 2013, p 249-257).

        Amendments were made to the Law on Conflicts of Interests, criminal provisions on anti-corruption and bribery were tightened, and a law regulating lobbying was introduced, which also relate to political finance regulation.

        The reform package was passed by the ruling coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and People's Party (ÖVP) and the opposition Greens (Grüne), as the adoption required a constitutional majority (2/3) was required.

        Minor changes to the law regulating funding to party academies – party think tanks and training centers – has been amended several times over the past ten years.


        Peer reviewer comment: There were two reasons for the "high speed" legislation described by the researcher: 1. since late 2001 and all over the first half of 2000 the mentioned corruption affairs were highly reported by the media, so the governing parties were under high pressure to react quickly; 2. in the case of the Political Parties Act, quick passage was necessary in order to overrule resistance mainly of the powerful province party organizations of ÖVP and SPÖ against this legislation.

        Hubert Sickinger: Political Money – Party Financing and Public Control in Austria (Politisches Geld – Parteienfinanzierung und öffentliche Kontrolle in Österreich), 2013

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        Austrian Parliament website: National Council finalizes transparency package (Nationalrat schnürt Transparenzpaket), http://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/PR/JAHR_2012/PK0550/. 2012.

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on Federal Support for Political Parties (amended in 2012), http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4491/file/Austriafedactfedsupporttopolitpart2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on the Election of the Federal President 1971, Art. 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

        Federal Act on Lobbying and the Transparency of Interest Representation (Lobbyinggesetz), 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=20007924

        Federal Act on Transparency and Conflicts of Interests (Unvereinbarkeits- und Transparenz-Gesetz), 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000756

        Federal Act on the Support of Political Education Efforts and Communication (amended several times, last in 2014), https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000784

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Hubert Sickinger: Political Money – Party Financing and Public Control in Austria (Politisches Geld – Parteienfinanzierung und öffentliche Kontrolle in Österreich), 2013

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    Third Party Actors

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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
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        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        Third party actors are legally allowed to support a party or candidate by making independent campaign expenditures. These third party actors do not have to directly report on such expenditures, or on contributions, to any electoral authority. Experts hold that political parties that benefit from indirect campaign support should report such support as an in-kind contribution, but it is unclear whether the law is applied in such a way as to make them do so.

        Under the Political Parties Act of 2012, political parties who participate in an election have to be accountable to the public and the Court of Audit through an annual financial disclosure.

        “Every political party shall submit the statement of accounts including lists of donations, sponsorships and advertisements and a list of the undertakings in which shares are held as referred to in para 6 to the Court of Audit by 30 September of the following year. For that purpose, affiliated organizations and branches of the party that have their own legal personality as well as members of parliament and candidates who stood for elections on a list of candidates submitted by the political party shall submit to the political party the complete and correct details required for the lists of donations, sponsorships and advertisements (…)” (Political Parties Act 2012, Art 5, para 7).

        Article 2 of the Political Parties Act defines an “affiliated organization” as “an organization having its own legal personality that is separate from the political party (including its branches as referred to in § 5 para 1) and that supports that political party or participates in the decision-making process of that political party, in particular by delegating members to executive bodies, or in whose decision-making process that political party participates, in particular by delegating members to executive bodies, if that kind of cooperation between the political party and the organization has been stipulated in the legal bases of the organization or in the constitution of the political party.” Parliamentary groups and party think tanks, as well as provincial parliamentary groups and one educational institution per party that is supported by the relevant province, are not deemed affiliated organizations as defined by the Act.

        Both party think thanks and parliamentary groups are banned from contributing to campaigns. While neither actor has to report itemized income and expenditures, both can be audited by the Court of Audit.

        There are no disclosure requirements for entities that are independent of a political party.

        Candidates running for President as well as third party actors supporting a candidate – such as a committee of personalities or other organizations involved in campaigning – have to disclose the aggregate value of donations they receive from individuals, legal entities, associations and foundations and entities with voluntary membership that represent the interests of businesses or employees. In addition, each contribution with a value of more than EUR 3,500 (USD 4,725) has to be reported with the name and address of the donor (Law on the Election of the President 1971, as amended in 2012, Art. 24a, Para. 2). If a contribution qualifies as sponsorship of a candidate, or an individual or group of individuals supporting the candidate, it only has to be reported if its value exceeds EUR 12,000 (USD 16,200) (Art. 24a, Para. 7).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Unions are permitted to donate to political parties, and to independently make expenditures in support of campaigns, but they do not have to report to an electoral authority. Only the party has to report a received donation by a union.

        In Austria, there is only one trade union federation (ÖGB), its branches have no legal personality. Within the ÖGB, most parties have affiliated groups. Funding of ÖGB to these groups are excluded from reporting.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on the Election of the Federal President 1971, Art. 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

        Court of Audit website: Party finance FAQ: 2.3 Who is accountable under the Political Parties Act? (2.3 Wer ist rechenschaftspflichtig nach dem PartG?), http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/sonderaufgaben/parteiengesetz/faq-parteiengesetz/rechenschaftsberichte/23.html

        Reviewer's sources: Hubert Sickinger: Political Money – Party Financing and Public Control in Austria (Politisches Geld – Parteienfinanzierung und öffentliche Kontrolle in Österreich), 2013

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        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        No itemized revenues and expenditures of third-party actors have been reported or made publicly available through the Court of Audit.

        The following actors have to submit financial information to the Court of Audit (however these actors are not required to file itemized expenditures): "Only political parties that registered after 1 January 2000 or have participated in a national, provincial or local election or in the election of the European Parliament are accountable [to the Court of Audit]. Also parties/candidates participating in elections are accountable if they have participated in campaigning for one of these bodies after 1 July 2012. The accountability for these parties remains – no matter if they are represented in a representative body – as long as they carry out activities related to campaigning" (Court of Audit website).

        At the time of the 2010 presidential elections, there were no reporting requirements for third-party actors who were supporting or campaigning for a candidate.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Anton Lerchner, communication and parliamentary relations, Der Rechnungshof (Court of Audit), communication on 12 August 2014

        Court of Audit website: Party financing FAQ: 2.3 Who is accountable under the Political Parties Act? (2.3 Wer ist rechenschaftspflichtig nach dem PartG?), www.rechnungshof.gv.at/sonderaufgaben/parteiengesetz/faq-parteiengesetz/rechenschaftsberichte/23.html

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        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        In practice, citizens and journalists currently cannot access any financial information on third party actors, if this actor does not voluntarily provide the information upon request. Austria currently does not have a legally enshrined right to freedom of information or access to public documents, in case the third party actor operates with public funding.

        Tax returns of an entity are not public records, and under Austrian data protection law, legal entities enjoy the right to privacy.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Chancellory website: Data protection dictionary, https://www.bka.gv.at/site/5811/default.aspx

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        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        Austrian presidential candidates are usually endorsed by "people committees", a group of more or less well-known individuals – artists, actors, business people, athletes – who endorse a candidate. These committees usually serve as testimonials for the non-partisan nature of the respective candidate and attend press conferences or campaign events, but are not heavily involved in direct or indirect campaign spending.

        The Political Parties Act 2012 might contribute to an increased role of third-party actors in national and regional elections. During the campaign season for the 2013 National Council elections, the non-profit group "Our Concern" ("Unser Anliegen") was set up. The group sought to mobilize people to share their concerns and ideas, which were then combined in a book that was handed over to the lead candidate of the People's Party (ÖVP), Michael Spindelegger, at a large-scale campaign event in Vienna. For the event, the non-profit had apparently rented the largest indoor event hall in Austria.

        While the non-profit described itself as "non-partisan" and "not affiliated with any political party", it openly endorsed and promoted Spindelegger. There, the group highlighted that it would not disclose any information about its donors or share any financial information with any third actors (i.e. the ÖVP and the Court of Audit).

        The ÖVP stated that if the non-profit were to deliver any in-kind contribution to the ÖVP's campaign, the party would report this donation accordingly. "My Concern" might become a test case that will show to what extend the Political Parties Act 2012 will prevent the circumvention of transparency requirements through technically independent third-party actors (DerStandard.at). The funding sources of the group have remained fully opaque. As this survey was conducted, political parties had yet to file their 2013 disclosures of contributions.

        In the 2013 provincial elections in Lower Austria, the non-profit "Initiative Lower Austria" ("Initiative Niederösterreich") campaigned for incumbent governor Erwin Pröll (ÖVP). The group indicated that among its donors were Raiffeisen (banking, real estate, agriculture, media, gambling etc.) and the region's Federation of Industries. Initiative Lower Austria made significant media buys (billboards, posters, print-ads) and organized campaign events (Wiener Zeitung).

        Party finance expert Hubert Sickinger argues that the ÖVP has to disclose contributions it received from the group as well as the source of the group's funding, as in-kind contributions have to be disclosed, and parties must not accept anonymous donations, or contributions that were apparently forwarded from a third actor. If and to what extend the group's funding and contributions to the ÖVP campaign will be disclosed by the party in its annual filings was not clear at the time of writing.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources

        ÖVP website: 13. September: My concern for Austria (Mein Anliegen für Österreich), http://www.oevp.at/service_multimedia/fotos/13-September-Mein-Anliegen-fuer-Oesterreich.psp

        Mein-Anliegen.at website, http://www.mein-anliegen.at/activities.xhtml

        DerStandard.at: Sickinger: ÖVP seeks to circumvent transparency rules with association (Sickinger: ÖVP versucht mit Verein Transparenz-Regeln zu umgehen), 17 April 2013, http://derstandard.at/1363708240695/Politologe-Sickinger-OeVP-versucht-mit-Verein-Transparenzregeln-zu-umgehen

        DerStandard: Trans-partisan for Heinz Fischer (Überparteilich für Heinz Fischer), 24 November 2009, derstandard.at/1256745519854/Unterstuetzungskomitee-Ueberparteilich-fuer-Heinz-Fischer

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Wiener Zeitung: About money we talk later (Übers Geld reden wir später), Clemens Neuhold, 28 February 2013, www.wienerzeitung.at/nachrichten/oesterreich/politik/528407_Uebers-Geld-reden-wir-spaeter.html

        DerStandard.at/APA: Raiffeisen supports Erwin Pröll through persons committee (Raiffeisen unterstützt Erwin Pröll in Personenkomitee), 23 January 2013, http://derstandard.at/1358304441288/Raiffeisen-unterstuetzt-Erwin-Proell-in-Personenkomittee

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

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      Monitoring Capabilities
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        MODERATE
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        The (audited) statement of accounts to be prepared by a political party shall be subject to supervision of the Court of Audit (Political Parties Act, Art. 10 (1), which is constitutional law). However, the Court of Audit's audit powers are limited and it does not have investigation powers.

        "(2) The Court of Audit shall verify the numerical correctness of the statement of accounts and its conformity with this Federal Act (...) (4) If the Court of Audit has specific indications that information contained in the statement of accounts of a political party is incorrect or incomplete, the Court of Audit shall grant the political party concerned the opportunity to comment within a reasonable period. The Court of Audit can demand from the political party the confirmation of the correctness of its comment by its auditor. (5) If the comment required pursuant to para 4 does not clarify the specific indications provided to the Court of Audit of the incorrectness and incompleteness of the statement of accounts, the Court of Audit shall instruct, at random, an auditor from a list submitted by the Chamber of Professional Accountants and Tax Advisers (Kammer der Wirtschaftstreuhänder), who has not been appointed auditor previously, to audit the statement of accounts (§ 5). § 9 shall apply to the auditor to be appointed in that manner with the proviso that the appointed auditor shall not exercise an office or a function in another party or for another party, or shall not have done so within the past three years. The political party shall allow the auditor appointed by the Court of Audit to have access to and inspect the documents and records required for the audit."

        Presidential candidates have to disclose individual donations and contributions of more than EUR 50,000 (USD 67,500) on the website of the candidate (or of the group of people or committee that supports the candidate), no later than one week before the election. This disclosure has to include the name and the address of the donor (Law on the Election of the President, as amended in 2012, Art. 24a (4)).

        Candidates running for president, and individuals and groups of people who support a candidate, have to document all received contributions exceeding the thresholds (of EUR 3,500/USD 4,725 for donations and ads, and EUR 12,000/USD 16,200 for sponsoring) in separate lists. The lists have to be checked and signed by an auditor and have to be submitted to the Court of Audit no later than three months after the election and have be published on the candidate’s website, while the Court of Audit will also publish it after checking the submitted documents for apparent mistakes (Law on the Election of the President, Art. 24a (10, 11).

        As is the case with audits of the accounts of political parties, the Court of Audit may request a clarification from the individual or group, in case it finds "concrete indications" that the submitted information is incorrect or incomplete. (12) If questions remain, the Court of Audit can appoint a new auditor, as described above (13). Audits are restricted to verifying the numerical correctness of submitted reports, and the Court of Audit lacks the remit to carry out substantive investigations.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]), Art. 10, http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on the Election of the Federal President 1971, Art. 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        MODERATE
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        The procedure of appointing the President of the Court of Audit is not solely based on merit. There are limited conflict of interest provisions, but these don't include family connections or political party affiliations.

        The Austrian Constitution protects the independence of the Court of Audit. The Court of Audit "is independent of the Federal Government and the Land Governments and subject only to the provisions of the law." (Article 1223 (2)).

        The President of the Court of Audit "is elected on the proposal of the Main Committee of the National Council for a twelve-years period; re-election is inadmissible." Before assuming office, he/she is sworn in by the President (4). The President of the Court of Audit may neither belong to any general representative body nor the European Parliament nor may he/she have been a member of the federal or a regional government (Article 123 (2)).

        Art. 125. (1) Civil servants of the Court of Audit are appointed by the Federal President upon suggestion and counter signature of the President of the Court of Audit; the same is used for the award of official titles. However, the Federal President may authorize the President of the Court of Audit to appoint certain categories of civil servants. (3) The federal service prerogative with regard to employees of the Court of Audit is exercised by the President of the Court of Audit."

        The members of the Independent Political Parties Transparency Senate, which has been established to impose monetary penalties, are appointed based on merit and have stricter conflict of interest provisions.

        The Senate "shall be based at the Federal Chancellery. The Senate shall consist of three members, i.e. the chairperson, a deputy chairperson and one further member, as well as three substitute members. All members and substitute members shall exercise their activities as a part-time position. The only persons who can be appointed members or substitute members are those who 1. have completed a law degree course or any degree course of law or political science, and 2. have at least ten years of work experience, 3. have comprehensive knowledge of the Austrian political party system, and 4. offer every reassurance of independence and are recognized for their competence due to their previous activities in the fields of economy, science or education" (Political Parties Act (2012), Art 11 (2), constitutional provision).

        According to the Political Parties Act, the following members shall not be appointed as members or substitute members of the Senate: "1. members of the Federal Government, state secretaries, members of a provincial government, members of the National Council, the Federal Council or of another general representative body or the European Parliament, as well as persons who are employees of a political party or have a position in a federal or provincial organization of a political party, persons who are employees of a political group in a general representative body or have been assigned to work for such a group, parliamentary staff members within the meaning of the Parliamentary Staff Act (Parlamentsmitarbeitergesetz) as well as members of the Ombudsman Board and the President of the Court of Audit, 2. individuals who are employees of legal entities working in civic education in relation to the political parties as referred to in § 1 of the Journalism Subsidies Act 1984 (Publizistik- fo?rderungsgesetz 1984), Federal Law Gazette No. 369, 3. individuals working for the office of a federal minister or the office of a state secretary or another federal or provincial executive body or officer as referred to in § 5, § 6 or § 8 para 1 of the Emoluments Act (Bezu?gegesetz), Federal Law Gazette No. 273/1972, as well as 4. persons who have exercised any of the activities and functions listed in subparas 1 to 3 within the previous year. (4) For the duration of their term of office, the members shall not exercise any activity that could cast doubt on the independent exercise of their position or give rise to the presumption of bias or that could prevent them from fulfilling their official tasks or put substantial official interests at risk. (5) The members shall be appointed by the Federal President upon the proposal of the Federal Government for a term of five years. For each member, a substitute member shall be appointed who shall replace the member if the member is incapacitated. Reappointment shall be permissible. In respect of each member and his or her substitute member, the Federal Government shall be bound by a proposal for appointment consisting of three persons each, listed in alphabetical order, by 1. the President of the Constitutional Court, 2. the President of the Administrative Court, 3. the President of the Supreme Court of Justice.

        (6) (Constitutional provision) The proposal of the Federal Government shall require the agreement of the Main Committee of the National Council.

        (7) After expiry of their term, the previous members shall continue to manage matters until the constitutive meeting of the newly appointed members."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Austrian Constitution (1930, as last amended in 2013), Art. 122, 125, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/Erv/ERV19301/ERV19301.html

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]), Art. 11, http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

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        50
        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        When the current President of the Court of Audit was appointed in 2004, his selection was strongly criticized by the opposition at the time. The parties represented in Parliament each nominated one or several candidates, who then participated in a parliamentary hearing. This hearing, however, was not open to the public. Josef Moser, who had previously headed the parliamentary club of the Austrian Freedom Party, which in 2004 was in a ruling coalition with the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), was chosen as the new President of the Court of Audit by Members of Parliament representing the two ruling parties. MP Peter Pilz of the Greens at the time called the process a "new low of the Parlament. The Court of Audit has received a maximum sentence", the head of the opposition Social Democratic Party Alfred Gusenbauer at the time said that the President of the National Council had promised that an independent candidate acceptable for the opposition would be selected. In his opinion, Moser did not fulfill those criteria (Der Standard, 24 June 2004; Austria Presse Agentur, 23 June 2004).

        The current members of the Independent Political Parties Transparency Pannel were chosen by the Chancellory without a public hearing, but the choice of candidates appears to be based on merit and there were no apparent conflicts of interest. In February 2013, Ludwig Adamovich, a former President of the Constitutional Court, was appointed to head the Independent Political Parties Transparency Pannel by the Chancellory. The two other members of the panel are Gunther Gruber, a former high-level official from the Administrative Court, and the deputy head of the Austrian Bar Association, Marcella Prunbauer. There was little media coverage and no statements from the opposition at the time the panel was appointed (APA, 1 February 2013).

        Interlocutors did not raise concerns about the qualifications and professionalism of the appointed individuals of both oversight bodies.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Nikolas Heigl, responsible for structure and organization, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum; Feri Thierry, executive director, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum, email-exchange, 7 August 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        "Moser came, responded and won" ("Moser kam, antworterte und siegte"), Lisa Nimmervoll and Michael Völker, Der Standard, 24 June 2004, http://derstandard.at/1705874,

        "Josef Moser to become new President of Court of Audit" (Josef Moser wird neuer Rechnungshof-Präsident), Austria Presse Agentur (APA), 23 June 2004

        "Transparency – Adamovich leads Party Senate" (Transparenz – Adamovich führt Parteiensenat an), APA, 1 February 2013

        Website of the Independent Party Transparency Senate, https://www.bka.gv.at/site/7868/default.aspx

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        MODERATE
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        The Court of Audit has the legal authority to review financial reports and request additional information as it deems fit. The President of the Court of Audit is appointed for a single 12-year term (Article 122 (4) of the Constitution). He/she and can be recalled from office only by a vote of the National Council (Article 123 (2)).

        Members of the Independent Party Transparency Senate are appointed for five-year terms (Political Parties Act 2012, Article 11 (5)). Its members shall decide by simple majority in presence of all members, abstentions are not permitted. (Article 11 (8)). The law includes no provision regarding the recalling of members of the Party Transparency Senate from their position.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Austrian Constitution (1930, as last amended in 2013), Art. 122, 123, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/Erv/ERV19301/ERV19301.html

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]), Art. 11, http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

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        100
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        A search of archives of relevant Austrian media outlets produced no reports that would indicate pressure on auditors or high-level employees of the Court of Audit, or the undue removal of appointees. Neither have there been any suggestions that there has been political pressure towards the members of the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel.

        An opposition representative stated that there was no reason to question the independence of the Court of Audit. Other interlocutors also stated that in practice, the Court was free from political outside pressure, one stated that the Court of Audit has a corporate identity of "doing tough audits" (Heigl/Thierry, Sickinger, Haslacher, Rainberg).

        Stakeholders interviewed for this survey did not raise concerns about the independence of the Panel in practice.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Nikolas Heigl, responsible for structure and organization, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum; Feri Thierry, executive director, NEOS – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum, email-exchange, 7 August 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Magdalena Reinberg, office manager, Transparency International – Austrian Chapter, interview on 9 August 2014

        Austrian Constitution, as of 1 January 2014, Art. 125, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/Erv/ERV19301/ERV19301.html (English/German)

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE).

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        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        By September 30, 2014, the Court of Audit will for the first time receive annual accounts of political parties, as well as lists with various types of contributions, a list of companies owned by the party and business these companies conducted with state entities, as well as proof that the parties did not exceed the campaign spending limit ahead of the 2013 National Council elections. Because this is the first year the Court of Audit is involved in party financing, internal procedures have yet to be determined in practice. When this survey was conducted in August 2014, staff at the Court was in the process of preparing for the new responsibilities.

        Once the Court of Audit has received the annual accounts of a party, which at this point have been audited by two independent private auditors, its experts are only mandated to check if there are no apparent mathematical mistakes in the annual account, and if all required information was submitted and appears to be complete. If everything is found to be in order, the documentation is published on its website. By this time, political parties should already have published their annual accounts and documentation they submitted to their court on their own website.

        If the Court of Audit finds indications that the submitted accounts by a party are incorrect or incomplete, it will not publish the documents. It has to grant the party to clarify the issue, and can request the independent auditors to verify that the party's clarification is correct.

        If this process does not resolve the specific indications for a problem, the Court can appoint a third independent auditor, selected by the drawing of a lot – the party is required to cooperate with the independent auditor.

        If after this process the experts at the Court of Audit still believe the information submitted by the party was incorrect or incomplete – or if the party fails to respond to the request for a clarification – the Court will decide to forward the documentation to the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel, which can impose an administrative fine.

        The Court of Audit is a moncratic organization, meaning its president is solely responsible for all its actions (Court of Audit website).

        Once it has received the documents from the Court of Audit, the Chairperson of the Panel selects one of its three members as a rapporteur on the case. In a session, at which all three members have to be present (if a member is not able to attend, his or her substitute member has to be present). The other members have to have one week time to familiarize themselves with the case documents (this timeframe can be shortened in urgent cases). If needed, the Panel can hear witnesses and experts. Its sessions are usually not public. The three members vote on the decision, they are not allowed to abstain. Upon request, there can be votes on various aspects of the decision (Independent Political Parties Transparency Pannel – Bylaws).

        The decision is made with a simple majority (Political Parties Act 2012, Art. 11, Para. 8). If an administrative sanction (Geldbuße) is imposed, this decision is made public.

        No interlocutor raised any concerns about the the process – which has yet to be tested in practice.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources

        Anton Lerchner, communication and parliamentary relations, Der Rechnungshof (Court of Audit), communication on 12 August 2014

        Michael R. Kogler, head of administration of the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel, email on 12 August 2014

        Court of Audit website: About the Court of Audit (Über den Rechnungshof), http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/ueber-den-rh/organisation.html.

        Court of Audit website: Political Parties Act FAQ: 6.1. What happens after the annual accounts are submitted? (6.1 Was passiert nach der Übermittlung der Rechenschaftsberichte?), http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/sonderaufgaben/parteiengesetz/faq-parteiengesetz/ueberpruefung-veroeffentlichung-verstoesse/61.html

        Court of Audit website: Political Parties Act FAQ: 6.2. What happens if there is incomplete or incorrect information in the account? (6.2 Was geschieht bei unvollständigen oder unrichtigen Angaben im Rechenschaftsbericht?), http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/sonderaufgaben/parteiengesetz/faq-parteiengesetz/ueberpruefung-veroeffentlichung-verstoesse/62.html

        Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel (Unabhängiger Parteien-Transparenz-Senat): By-laws (Geschäftsordnung), https://www.bka.gv.at/DocView.axd?CobId=51025.

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

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        75
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        The Court of Audit is only allowed to verify if submitted annual accounts that have been approved by two private auditors fulfill formal criteria and do not contain apparent mathematical mistakes. The Court of Audit lacks the mandate to carry out audits of political parties that would be needed to verify if submitted documents are correct and complete. "Because of a lack of an actual audit and verification mandate in the area of political parties, the Court of Audit cannot fulfill its core role and put its comprehensive audit audit know-how to use." (Court of Audit, 2013, p. 54). The Court of Audit's President, Josef Moser, has referred to his organization's supervision role as "false labeling": "When it comes to the monitoring, it has a seal that says 'Rechnungshof' on the package, but there is no 'Rechnungshof' in it. (Ö1, 2013)

        When presenting the Court of Audit's annual report in Parliament in 2013, Mr Moser, highlighted that while his organization's mandate and responsibilities had been increased significantly in recent years, including in the area of party financing, the Court's budget had been decreased. (Moser 2013). In his 2014 speech in Parliament, Moser stated that currently, the Court uses savings to bridge the current funding gap, but as a result it will face significant budgetary problems from 2017 onwards if no additional resources are allocated. The Court's operative budget was EUR 29.3 million (USD 39.55 million) in 2012, EUR 28.5 million (USD 38.475 million) in 2013, and was decreased to EUR 28 million (USD 37.8 million) in 2014 and 2015 (Administration of the Parliament, 2014).

        While the Court of Audit has stated that it will ask all public bodies that by law are subject to its supervision to disclose any business conducted with political parties or companies linked to political parties, the Court states that it does not have the human resources to verify this information. (Court of Audit, 2013, p.56)

        Interlocutors remarked that the Court was not selectively "starved" and that there were budget cuts across all parts of the federal government. None of the interviewees stated that, given its limited monitoring role, the Court would not be able to check all accounts it receives. It also appears that the Court does not yet fully know the actual workload that it will have in practice with monitoring and publishing documents it receives from parties by September 30, 2014.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Anton Lerchner, communication and parliamentary relations, Der Rechnungshof (Court of Audit), communication on 12 August 2014

        Josef Moser, speech in Parliament, 27 February 2013, transcript from website of the Court of Audit, http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/fileadmin/downloads/2013/aktuelles/presse/redenhp/parlament/Plenum27.02.13.pdf

        Ö1: Peter Dasa: Campaign costs: Cover has holes (Wahlkampfkosten: Deckel hat Löcher), Mittagsjournal, 9 June 2013, http://oe1.orf.at/artikel/345408.

        Administration of the Parliament: Court of Audit President Josef Moser: Court is being Starved (RH-Präsident Josef Moser: Der Rechnungshof wird ausgehungert), 13 May 2014, http://www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS20140513OTS0248/rh-praesident-josef-moser-der-rechnungshof-wird-ausgehungert.

        Court of Audit (Rechnungshof): Issues related to the oversight of public finances (Themen der öffentlichen Finanzkontrolle), 2013, http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/fileadmin/downloads/2013/berichte/teilberichte/oberoesterreich/Oberoesterreich201305/Oberoesterreich201305_5.pdf

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        Around the 2013 National Council elections, 17 complaints were filed with the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel concerning political parties' alleged violations of campaign finance rules. These cases were brought by political parties and individuals.

        The Panel reviewed all these complaints. In several of these 17 cases, the Panel launched an investigation to establish the factual circumstances of the case, according to the head of the Panel’s administration. In none of the cases, sanctions were imposed.

        The Panel is banned from disclosing its decisions concerning the imposing of administrative fines against individuals. Because political parties only have to file their annual accounts for the year of the last National Council election, which took place in September 2013, by the end of September 2014 to the Court of Audit, it is possible that after reviewing the documents, the Court may forward documentation to the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel for further investigations (Sickinger 2013, p. 255). The Senate will disclose fines that it imposes as a result of this process.

        At the time of the last Presidential elections in 2010, there was no regulation or oversight of candidates' campaign finances, and no (legal) basis to launch any investigations (Law on the Election of the President as of April 2010).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Michael R. Kogler, head of administration of the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel, email on 12 August 2014

        DerStandard.at (APA material): Party financing: Apparently no procedures launched by Transparency-Senate (Parteienfinanzierung: Offenbar keine Verfahren von Transparenzsenat), 9 December 2013, http://derstandard.at/1385170367853/Parteienfinanzierung-Transparenz-Senat-leitet-offenbar-keine-Verfahren-ein

        DerStandard.at (Lisa Aigner): Decisions of the Transparency Senate shall become public (Entscheidungen des Transparenz-Senats sollen öffentlich werden), 8 November 2013, http://derstandard.at/1381371315153/Opposition-Entscheidungen-des-Transparenz-Senats-oeffentlich-machen.

        Hubert Sickinger: Political Money – Party Financing and Public Control in Austria (Politisches Geld – Parteienfinanzierung und öffentliche Kontrolle in Österreich), 2013

        Law on the Election of the President, 1973, as of April 2010, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494&FassungVom=2010-04-01

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        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        The annual accounts of political parties, which are approved by two independent auditors, are available to the public.

        The Independent Political Parties Transparency Pannel, which is charged with investigating and sanctioning violations, is legally banned from making its rulings concerning administrative sanctions of individuals (high-ranking party officials) public, and so far has not made any of its decisions on 17 complaints it received public (Court of Audit, 2013, p. 59; DerStandard.at, 2013; Kogler).

        In several instances, political parties have published the Panel’s decisions or summaries of the findings to show that their actions were not sanctioned.

        The Panel will release decisions on sanctions for cases it reviews based on documents that are forwarded by the Court of Audit after the deadline for parties' annual account filings.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Michael R. Kogler, head of administration of the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel, email on 12 August 2014

        Court of Audit (Rechnungshof): Issues related to the oversight of public finances (Themen der öffentlichen Finanzkontrolle), 2013, http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/fileadmin/downloads/2013/berichte/teilberichte/oberoesterreich/Oberoesterreich201305/Oberoesterreich201305_5.pdf

        DerStandard.at (Lisa Aigner): Transparency-Senate not allowed to publish decisions (Transparenz-Senat darf Entscheidungen nicht veröffentlichen), 7 November 2013 derstandard.at/1381371200943/Transparenz-Senat-darf-Entscheidungen-nicht-veroeffentlichen

        Neos (Press release): Parties-Transparency-Senate sees NEOS donations as comprehensive and traceable (Parteien-Transparenz-Senat sieht NEOS Spenden schlüssig und nachvollziehbar erklärt), 7 November 2013, http://www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS20131107OTS0157/parteien-transparenz-senat-sieht-neos-spenden-schluessig-und-nachvollziehbar-erklaert

        Independent Parties Transparency Senate, decision GZ 610.004/0005-UPTS/2013, 3 December 2013, www.fpoe.at/fileadmin/Content/portal/PDFs/2013/fpoeklubupts201306_12.pdf

        Independent Parties Transparency Senate, decision GZ 610.003/0002-UPTS/2013, 3 December 2013, http://www.gruene.at/super-sauber/unabhaengiger-parteien-transparenz-senat.pdf

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
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        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        The law clearly defines violations of political finance provisions for both, political parties and candidates running for President. The law also defines clear sanctions that can be imposed for violations of provisions under the Political Parties Act. Sanctions are also defined for candidates or supporters of candidates in presidential elections that fail to comply with disclosure requirements.

        The Political Parties Act of 2012 defines the following sanctions for violations: "Art. 10. (1) The statement of accounts to be prepared by a political party (§ 5) shall also be subject to the supervision of the Court of Audit. (6) If the statement of accounts gave incorrect or incomplete information and the political party or the auditor instructed by the Court of Audit was not able to correct or complete such information or if the party concerned let the period referred to in para 4 lapse unused, a monetary penalty shall be imposed depending on the severity of the offense, i.e. in the case of a violation of § 5 para 4 or 5 or § 7 in the amount of up to EUR 30,000 (USD 40,500), in the case of violations of § 5 para 6 of up to EUR 100,000 (USD 135,000). If the violation of § 5 para 6 or § 7 results from incorrect or incomplete information by an affiliated organization or branch of the party with its own legal personality, such organization or branch shall be requested to make a comment as referred to in para 4. If the affiliated organization or the branch of the party with its own legal personality or the auditor instructed by the Court of Audit was not able to correct or complete the incorrect or incomplete information or if the period granted pursuant to para 4 has lapsed unused, a monetary penalty of up to EUR 30,000 (USD 40,500) or EUR 100,000 (USD 135,000), respectively, shall be imposed on the affiliated organization or the branch of the party with its own legal personality. (7) If a political party has not stated donations in violation of § 6 para 4 or has not reported donations contrary to § 6 para 5 or has accepted donations in violation of § 6 para 6, a monetary penalty of up to three times the amount received, but at least in the amount received, shall be imposed on that political party, depending on the severity of the offense. If the violation results from incorrect or incomplete information by an affiliated organization or branch of the party with its own legal personality, the monetary penalty shall be imposed on the affiliated organization or the branch of the party with its own legal personality. (8) In the event the maximum amount regulated in § 4 is exceeded by up to 25%, a monetary penalty in the amount of up to 10% of the excess amount shall be imposed. If the limit of 25% is exceeded, the monetary penalty shall be increased by up to 20% of this second excess amount."

        According to Article 12 (2) of the Political Parties Act, any person who "1. does not state a donation contrary to Art. 6 Para. 4 [Donations whose total amount exceeds the amount of EUR 3,500 (USD 4,725) in a calendar year, including the name and address of the donor, shall be stated. Donations to federal, provincial and district organizations shall be aggregated], or 2. accepts a donation and does not report such a donation contrary to Art. 6 Para. 5 [Donations exceeding the amount of EUR 50,000 (USD 67,500) in an individual case shall be immediately reported to the Court of Audit], or 3. accepts a donation contrary to Art. 6 Para. 7 [which defines banned donations and defines ceilings for anonymous and cash donations] and does not forward such a donation, or 4. breaks down a received donation into partial amounts to circumvent Art. 6 Para. 4, 5 or 6 Subpara. 9 and books such partial amounts to the accounts or has them booked to the accounts, commits an administrative offense and shall be punished with a fine of up to EUR 20,000 [USD 27,000].

        (3) If a member of parliament or a candidate who stood for elections on a list of candidates submitted by a political party (Art. 6, Para. 9) has not stated a donation in violation of Art. 6, Para. 4 or has accepted and not reported a donation contrary to Art. 6 Para. 5 or has accepted and not forwarded a donation in violation of Art. 6, Para. 7, the decision shall also order the forfeiture of a monetary amount corresponding to the amount of the relevant donation.

        (4) A person who, as the authorized agent responsible for the conformity of the declarations made with the requirements in respect of accountability, intentionally provides incorrect information for the statement of accounts, commits an administrative offense and shall be punished with a fine of up to EUR 10,000 [USD 13,500]."

        For candidates and support committees involved in Presidential elections, the Law on the Election of the President (which includes largely similar financing regulations as the Political Parties Act does for political parties) foresees similar procedures for the imposing of sanctions as the Political Parties Act. Article 24a (15): "The Independent Parties Transparency Senate is charged with imposing financial penalties according to this law, its decision making should be based on documents submitted by the Court of Audit." Administrative fines of up to EUR 20,000 (USD 27,000) can be imposed for violating the regulation on accepting and disclosing contributions (Art. 24a, para 6).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Election of the Federal President 1971, Art. 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]) http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

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        YES
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        The Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel and the Court of Audit can impose financial penalties and administrative penalties but do not have prosecutorial powers (Political Parties Act 2012, Art. 10, 12). However, as no criminal penalties are defined in the law, both bodies have the full amount of authority provided by law. At the Panel, the decision to impose financial sanctions is made by a majority vote, whereby all three members of the Panel (or their respective substitute members) have to be present (Art. 11, para. 8). The Panel can also impose fines for violations of campaign finance rules of candidates running for President or individuals/groups supporting these candidates (Law on the Election of the President, Art. 24a, para. 15, as amended in 2012).

        "In exercising their office, the members and substitute members of the Panel shall be independent and shall not be bound by any instructions" (Art. 11, para. 1).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Federal Act on the Financing of Political Parties (Political Parties Act 2012 [Parteiengesetz 2012]), Art. 12, http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/4490/file/AustriaPoliticalPartiesAct2012_en.pdf (English translation by OSCE)

        Federal Act on the Election of the Federal President 1971, Art. 24a, as amended in 2012, https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10000494

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        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        In 2013 and the first half of 2014, 17 cases were submitted to the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel, which so far has not imposed any sanctions. It is thus not possible to evaluate compliance with any imposed sanctions. Sources confirm that sanctions have yet to be imposed.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources

        Michael R. Kogler, head of administration of the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel, email on 12 August 2014

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

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        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        The effectiveness of enforcement of political finance rules is undermined by the fact that the Court of Audit does not have the right to investigate and verify the data it receives from political parties and candidates. Furthermore, there are a number of provisions in the current Political Parties Act, which was introduced in 2012. It is not yet possible to make a full assessment of the new financial regulations, their enforcement and the sanctioning of violations, as political parties will for the first time have to file a detailed report with the Court of Audit by September 30th 2014 – after the evaluation period of this research.

        Currently, the Court of Audit is only allowed to check if the annual accounts submitted by political parties contain any formal mistakes. Its role is de facto limited to receiving, managing and republishing documents submitted by parties and candidates. Even if there are “specific indications” that a financial report submitted by a political party contains mistakes or is incomplete, the Court is only allowed to appoint a new external auditor to conduct an additional audit. As a result, the Court of Audit in practice also cannot verify if parties exceeded the spending ceiling of EUR 7 million (USD 9.45 million) (Court of Audit, 2013, p. 54).

        Thus, the Court of Audit should be empowered to audit political parties itself, rather than have to rely on external auditors.

        Because the Independent Political Parties Transparency Senate can only impose fines upon receiving documents from the Court of Audit (which parties have to submit to the Court of Audit annually by September 30th of the following year), it may take more than 18 months to impose a fine for a violation (see also Court of Audit 2013, p. 58). This is especially problematic because the relevant statue to limitation for such administrative violations is 12 months, resulting in the fact that in most cases, financial sanctions could only be applied by the Independent Parties Transparency Senate if an insider files a direct complaint (Sickinger, 2013, pp. 254, 255). A speedier process and regular reporting requirements, including and especially in the pre-election period, would be needed for a more timely enforcement.

        The law only includes administrative fines for parties or party representatives, even in cases of severe violations there is no criminal liability. There are currently no sanctions whatsoever for donors who violate party finance provisions (Sickinger 2013, p. 255).

        There are no sanctions in the law for parties or candidates that fail to submit its annual accounts including lists of donations, sponsoring, advertisements and companies in which the party holds shares (Court of Audit, 2013, p.55). However, this case could be considered as a failure to appropriately disclose contributions, and be sanctioned accordingly by the Independent Political Parties Transparency Panel (Sickinger).

        Parties and candidates can easily and legally circumvent the requirement for timely disclosure of single large donations of more than EUR 50,000 (USD 67,500) by splitting a large contribution into several contributions that are below this threshold.

        While the mandate and responsibilities of the Court of Audit have been increased into several new areas in recent years, these additional tasks have not been accompanied by an increase in the organization’s budget. The President of the Court of Audit has highlighted in 2013 that for the period between until 2016, the Court faces a budget shortage of approximately seven million Euro (USD 9.45 million) (Moser, 2013).

        While the Court of Audit has stated that it will ask all public bodies that by law are subject to its supervision to disclose any business conducted with political parties or companies linked to political parties, the Court does not have the resources to verify this information. Furthermore, the law does not provide for any sanctions in case public bodies fail to report or misrepresent such contracts (Court of Audit, 2013, p.56).

        The current ceiling of election campaign expenditures of EUR 7 million does not include expenditures by individuals or groups campaigning in favor of a specific party in parliamentary elections, if those groups are not directly linked to the party.

        Transparency International Austria has highlighted that in the current legal framework, members of government are currently not covered by the obligation to report any contributions they receive, neither are they under the same limitations to accept contributions that are in place for political parties and candidates (TI Austria, 2014).

        The fact that the Political Parties Act fails to mention the data format in which parties have to file their reports with the Court of Audit is likely to result in non-standardized filings in various, non-open data formats, which will make it more difficult not only for experts at the Court but also for journalists and citizens to analyze and scrutinize the data.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources

        Hubert Sickinger, lecturer and author, University of Vienna, interview on 5 August, 2014

        Christian Haslacher, Editor, Austria Presse Agentur (APA), interview on 8 August 2014

        Court of Audit (Rechnungshof): Issues related to the oversight of public finances (Themen der öffentlichen Finanzkontrolle), 2013, http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/fileadmin/downloads/2013/berichte/teilberichte/oberoesterreich/Oberoesterreich201305/Oberoesterreich201305_5.pdf

        Josef Moser, speech in Parliament, 27 February 2013, transcript from website of the Court of Audit, http://www.rechnungshof.gv.at/fileadmin/downloads/2013/aktuelles/presse/redenhp/parlament/Plenum27.02.13.pdf

        Transparency International Austria: Demands to the National Council and the Government (Forderungen an Nationarat und Bundesregierung), 27 June 2014, http://www.ti-austria.at/uploads/media/TI-ACLangfassungForderungenNRBReg_27062014.pdf

        Hubert Sickinger: Political Money – Party Financing and Public Control in Austria (Politisches Geld – Parteienfinanzierung und öffentliche Kontrolle in Österreich), 2013

Austria has a bicamerial legislature. The National Council (Nationalrat) has 183 members that are elected for five-year terms through a proportional system of representation using candidate lists and preferential voting. There are nine constituencies corresponding to the federal provinces, which are in turn divided into 39 regional constituencies, each of which has between one and eight seats depending on its population. Voters choose a political party, and also can cast preferential votes for one national, one regional, and one local list candidate of the same party. Parties have to pass a threshold of four per cent of the national vote to be represented in the National Council.

The Federal Council (Bundesrat) is composed of 61 members and represents the interests of the nine federal provinces. All members of the Federal Council are selected by the nine provincial parliaments according to the respective strength of political parties in the last provincial elections. The Federal Council has limited powers, as its veto can be overturned by the National Council with a simple majority vote.

Campaigns are largely funded and managed by the respective political party on a national level, whereby campaign activities are also carried out by regional and local party sections.

The most recent elections to the National Council took place in September of 2013. The Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ, 52 seats) is in a ruling coalition with the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP, 47 seats). The Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ, 40 seats), the Greens (Grüne, 24 seats), Team Stronach (11 seats) and NEOS (9 seats) are currently in opposition.

The President is the head of state and is elected directly by the people for a maximum of two consecutive six-year terms. According to the Austrian constitution, the President has some strong powers: he appoints the prime minister (Federal Chancellor – Bundeskanzler) and, upon proposal by the Federal Chancellor, also the other members of the federal government (ministers and state secretaries).

The government also needs the support support of parliamentary majority: the National Council may force the government – and any minister – to resign by a vote of no confidence, which has to be supported by simple majority. For this reason the Austrian political system works mainly as a parliamentarian government, whereby in practice Members of Parliament of the ruling parties rarely ever question any action of the government; the role of the President is largely ceremonial.

Within the government, the Federal Chancellor is head of the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt, which also serves a ministry) but has only limited additional powers to coordinate work of the whole government.