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Costa Rica

In law
78
In practice
68

Costa Rica has a strong legal framework in place to regulate political finance. Direct public funding is provided (in the form of post-election reimbursements), in law and in practice, to political parties, and the abuse of non-financial state resources during campaigns is rare. There is no subsidized or free access to media advertising during campaigns. There is no limit on contributions from individuals, nor are cash donations prohibited or capped. Campaign spending is also unlimited. In practice, this means that parties take out substantial loans to finance campaigns, which they later pay down with the reimbursements provided by the state. Reporting requirements are quite stringent, the law mandating that parties submit detailed financial reports both inside and outside election periods. In general, parties typically complied with these requirements during the 2014 election. The reports are made available to the public, but not in a standardized or machine readable format. Violations of the law were rare during the 2014 campaign. Third party actors are prohibited from engaging in any political activity, but in practice, several ostensibly independent, non-party organizations undertook campaign activities in 2014. The Electoral Court (TSE) oversees political finance. Appointments to the TSE are merit-based, though not public, and its leaders are independent, both in law and in practice. The authority is only slightly constrained by a lack of budget and staff capacity, and carries out investigations when warranted in most cases, though it does not publish all investigation results in a timely fashion. The TSE imposes fines and refers cases for prosecution when necessary, and offenders comply with its sanctions. Despite the strengths of the Costa Rican system, weaknesses remain: in particular, the failure to regulate contributions from individuals, and the lack of a cap on spending during campaigns, have been the subject of reform efforts.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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    78
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      Direct Public Funding
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        1
        Score
        YES
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        In law, there is direct public funding for Costa Rican political parties. No such provision exists for individual candidates, but candidates are not permitted to receive any form of contribution independent of parties.

        According to Article 96 of the Constitution, "The State shall contribute to defray the costs incurred by political parties...The contribution shall be the equivalent of 0.19% of GDP," and "this percentage shall be allocated to cover the expenses incurred by the political parties participating in these electoral processes..." Funding shall be provided to eligible parties that "disclose their expenses before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal," and parties may be "entitled to a partial advance" upon the deposit of appropriate bonds.

        The Electoral Act of 2009, in articles 89-93, reiterates that state funding will be provided for political parties that participate in Presidential or Legislative elections.

        In addition, the rules, requirements and procedures to provide public funding to political parties is enshrined in the implementation Bylaws, Decree 17 of 2009.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 89 State Funding; Section II. Also Articles 90, 91, 92 and 93. http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/americas/CR/costa-rica-codigo-electoral-2010

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        2
        Score
        YES
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        State funding is distributed proportionally on the basis of total number of votes received by all political parties that receive at least 4% of the valid votes cast in any national level election, or that obtain at least one seat in the National Assembly, or that obtain at least 4% of the vote at the provincial level.

        Article 96 of the Constitution sets forth the following eligibility criteria for parties that may receive funding: • Participate in the election of President or Members of the Legislative Assembly. • That obtain at least four percent of votes. • That disclose their expenses to the TSE after the election. • Have previously in their bylaws stated the percentage of the contribution allocated to training and political organization. • Individual candidates are not allowed to receive public funds.

        Article 90 of the Electoral Law regulates the amount, classification of allowable expenses in the process, liquidation of expenses and advance payments and guarantees.

        It states,“The Tribunal shall determine the distribution in accordance with the procedure described below: a) The individual cost of one vote shall be determined by dividing the total amount of the state funding by the sum of the valid votes obtained by all political parties entitled to funding in the election for President and Vice Presidents of the Republic and representatives of the Legislative Assembly. b) The maximum each party can receive is the amount resulting from the multiplication of the individual cost of a vote by the sum of valid votes obtained in the election for President and Vice President of the Republic and members of the Legislative Assembly, or by what they obtained in either election if they only participated in one of them, deducting therefrom the amounts spent by way of guaranteed advance payments.”

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 89 State Funding; Section II. Also Articles 90-96. http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/americas/CR/costa-rica-codigo-electoral-2010

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        3
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        100
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        Mr. Fernández and Chacón of the TSE report that the mechanism of direct public funding derives from a constitutional provision, established at legal level, and that, in practice, the dictates of that law are applied without exception to all political parties taking part in all types of elections (presidential, parliamentary, and municipal). Andrés Araya, Executive Secretary of Costa Rica Integra, and the National Contact of Transparency International, confirms that the financing system is supported by an explicit framework and is applied accurately, fairly and safely. There have been no complaints of improper or outside the framework of the law of mechanism applications.

        However, the public funding system itself is inequitable, and its operating mechanism, through which it offers only a partial advance while mainly reimbursing parties for expenses incurred, favors parties that already have collected sufficient funds to conduct campaigns. According to Mr Picado of the TSE, this causes the system to discriminate against less financially advantaged parties.

        In addition, Mr. Sobrado – in his paper – remarks on page 225, that the constitutional amendment... “ ...was necessary to alleviate the influence of political power groups and to ensure fairness of elections."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The applicability of the systems creates inequitable results, so long as new parties or small parties need to provide a collateral warranties to have access to anticipated state funds, according to articles 36-40 of the Bylaws. If such parties do not reach the minimum threshold for State contribution, the TSE orders them to collect the anticipated amount by executing the collateral warranties. As such, the new parties or the parties who have more need of financial support are not encouraged to participate in the elections. This conclusion was also part of the recommendations of the OAS on the Electoral Observation in 2014.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014.

        Luis Antonio Sobrado González, "La financiación de los Partidos Políticos en Costa Rica," IDEA, 2011. http://www.idea.int/publications/funding-of-parties-in-la/upload/inlayFPP-costarica.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: OAS, Electoral Observation 2014. http://www.oas.org/es/sap/deco/moe_informe/InfoVerbalMOECostaRica2014.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        4
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        According the electoral officials, decisions of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) establishing state funding to political parties are public and, as such disclosure is articulated through the Official Journal (La Gaceta), the TSE website, and through media coverage for this purpose. Picado from the TSE adds that the information is completely public. In this same vein, Sibaja remarks that concern the TSE by the disclosure of information on political financing is higher ranking and importance past the electoral process.

        The TSE Resolution 1075-E10-2014, included in the sources, released on March 20, 2014, contains details on the state funding disbursed to political parties based on the results of the February elections.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The detail is publicly disclosed at the moment of sending the instruction to the Ministry of Finance to disburse the funds to each party. It is made publicly available for free before the actual payment.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        TSE Resolution 1075-E10-2014, TSE, March 20, 2014.
        http://www.tse.go.cr/juris/electorales/1075-E10-2014.pdf?zoom_highlight=resoluciones+2014#search=%22resoluciones%202014%22

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with Andrei Cambronero Torres, Technical Official of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and Professor of the University of Costa Rica, November 4th, 2014.

        TSE Resolution. 1075-E10-2014, available at http://www.tse.go.cr/juris/electorales/1075-E10-2014.pdf?zoom_highlight=resoluciones+2014#search=%22resoluciones%202014%22

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
        Score
        YES
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        The following rules control the use of state resources in favour or against political parties:

        Article 136 of the Electoral Code prohibits the use of political propaganda in public places, roads or property.

        Article 137 (g) of the Electoral Code, public authorities can allow the use of public facilities for manifestations and parades. There is a mandatory rotation of the availability of the public location to all requesting parties, no simultaneous activities are allowed in the same facilities, a written request must be approved by the Electoral Authorities and the information of approvals is disclosed publicly. The process is described in the Bylaws, Decree n.º 7-2013, for the authorization of political activities in public places.

        Article 102.5 of the Political Constitution establishes that the Electoral Tribunal (TSE) will investigate and sanction any political bias shown by government officials in favour or against political parties (which includes the use of State Resources). Furthermore, article 146 of the Electoral code, prohibits public officials from engaging in political/electoral activities during work time, and from using their position to benefit a particular political party.

        No mention is made of the use of state resources regarding individual candidates, but such candidates do not participate in electoral campaigns in Costa Rica.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96, Chapter II, Art. 102 (5) Chapter III on Electoral Body. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Articles 136, 137, Title IV Electoral Process, Chapter I Preparatory Acts http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        75
        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

        In Costa Rica the use of state resources in electoral processes is largely controlled by the TSE and by other institutions such as the Comptroller General of the Republic. The increasing control exercised by citizens is also relevant, as they can help to demonstrate the illegal use of some state resources. The law basically regulates what is called political belligerence, which is the intervention of a public official in the electoral process, both at senior positions (ie president) and junior staff. A detailed review of the TSE resolutions regarding complaints of partiality or political belligerence from 2008 to 2014, show several cases with differents results.

        For example, during this electoral process (2013 - 2014), the TSE ordered the dismissal and disqualification from holding public office for two years of Mr. Ignacio Carrillo Perez, the CEO of JUDESUR, and Mrs. Marta Campos Méndez. They were suspended from their positions on the Board of the Institute of Rural Development. These cases demonstrate that the electoral body acts and has jurisdiction to impose penalties.

        No resolutions or documented instances on the use of public resources like cars, etc. were found. There is a recurrent confusion: many public complaints relate to mid-level officials who have no absolute prohibition on participating in party activities (Article 146 of the Electoral Act only prohibits them from doing so during work hours) but only to do so during office hours. This explains why many complaints are dismissed by the TSE.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

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        7
        Score
        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        No law enshrines free or subsidized access to media advertising for political parties or candidates. That said, Article 139 of the Electoral Act does mandate that businesses and media registered with TSE must ensure equal treatment to all political parties participating in the elections. See Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº139.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The TSE has presented a bill that is currently under the consideration of the Legislative Assembly for the modification of Articles 115-119 of the Electoral Act in order to ensure a minimum free media availability for electoral campaigns. This modification is intended to be used by parties and candidates.

        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.

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article 139. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Bylaws to concede airtime to the TSE during electoral procedures, Decree 2, 2013. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/tiempoefectivoenmediosgratuita.pdf

        Proposed Bill for the Reform of the Electoral Act, 2014. http://www.asamblea.go.cr/CentrodeInformacion/ConsultasSIL/Pginas/Detalle%20Proyectos%20de%20Ley.aspx?NumeroProyecto=18739)

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        8
        Score
        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

        This indicator is not applicable for Costa Rica, as there is no regulatory provision that sets forth this type of access to the media.

        Election officials, academics and civil leaders interviewed confirm that there is no regime to ensure free and fair access to media. According to Sibaja, the lack of such a law gives great power to the media as they decide how, when and who to give coverage.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The lack of subsidized access to air time was part of the review of the Electoral Observation performed by OAS during the 2014 Elections. Changing this situation was one of their main recommendations.

        In their report it was evidenced that, out of 13 parties that participated in the election, 5 of them had 88% of the media coverage. For congressmen candidates, 22% of the women had media coverage in comparison to 78% media coverage for the male candidates.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: OAS, Electoral Observation, 2014 http://www.oas.org/es/sap/deco/moe_informe/InfoVerbalMOECostaRica2014.pdf

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
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        9
        Score
        NO
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        Chapter III of the Regulation on Political Parties states that cash contributions are not prohibited, but they must be registered in the financial books of the receiving party. Article 79 states, "Natural persons will be able to donate, without limitation as to the amount, contributions, donations, or any other kind of support, in money or in kind, to political parties."

        By Article 93 of the Bylaws on Financing Political Parties, legal entities and foreigners are prohibited from making contributions of any kind, including cash. However, individuals are permitted to make unlimited cash contributions.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The Bylaws on the Financing of Political Parties do not ban cash contributions. However, there are rules to have a detailed accounting and financial record of cashflows according to Article 89, on the requirements of Financial Statements.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 123 State Funding; Section VII, Private Funding. Also Articles 121 to 130. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter III, Section I, article 79, 86 and 93. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        10
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        YES
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        By Article 123 of the Electoral Code and Article 93 of the Bylaws on Financing Political Parties, anonymous contributions to both parties and individual candidates are banned. The ban is exhaustive and the parties must report to the authorities all contributions.

        Article 125 of the Electoral Code states, "The private direct financing of candidates and precandidates...is prohibited...All contributions must be channeled through the political party treasurer." The same article also stipulates that, "If contributions are intended for a specific candidate or precandidate, the treasurer will designate the contribution for that candidate, but he will be obligated to include the contribution in his reports. These contributions will be subject to the same restrictions, controls, and sanctions as contributions to parties."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Note that articles 115, 116, 117, 118 and 119 of the Electoral Code allow the Political Parties to sell a "Certificate" that represents the value of the potential State contribution in order to acquire private capital to finance campaigns. Before November of 2013, such certificates were freely negotiated with third parties and there were allegations of irregularities that culminated in an Unconstitutionality Plea before the Constitutional Chamber. The Tribunal reviewed the system and determined in Resolution 15343-13 that the system would not be unconstitutional as long as it was interpreted in a way that ensured transparency and would not go against the general prohibitions of anonimity or unlawfulness. However, two constitutional judges dissented from the criteria of the majority of the Chamber, determining that the means of free negotiation with such certificates did not comply with the minimum constitutional requirements of publicity and transparency.

        The instruments were not considered unconstitutional but they represent a questionable method to make the rules of transparency set forth in the law more flexible.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 120, 123, 125, State Funding; Section VII, Private Funding. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter IV, article 93. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Constitutional Chamber. Resolution 15343. 2013. Available at: http://jurisprudencia.poder-judicial.go.cr/SCIJPJ/busqueda/jurisprudencia/jurDocumento.aspx?param1=Ficha_Sentencia&nValor1=1&cmbDespacho=&txtAnno=&strNomDespacho=Sala Constitucional&nValor2=601423&lResultado=1&lVolverIndice=IndiceDespSent&param01=&param2=143&strTipM=T&strDirSel=directo

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        11
        Score
        YES
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Parties have the obligation to register and report all received donations, in kind or cash. Indeed, by the Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, “All fundraising activities by the party or any of the factions officially accredited by it must be regulated by the political party, guaranteeing the principle of transparency and disclosure."

        By Article 123 of the Electoral Act, "The treasurer must keep a record of the fundraising activities of the party including those of factions and movements. The treasurer shall send reports to the TSE when it so requests."

        Article 125 of the Electoral Act states, "The private direct financing of candidates and precandidates...is prohibited...All contributions must be channeled through the political party treasurer." The same article also stipulates that, "If contributions are intended for a specific candidate or precandidate, the treasurer will designate the contribution for that candidate, but he will be obligated to include the contribution in his reports. These contributions will be subject to the same restrictions, controls, and sanctions as contributions to parties." This means that even in-kind donations to candidates must be reported by the political parties of whom candidates are members.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 120, 130, and 132, State Funding; Section VII, Private Funding. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter IV, article 79, 86 and 88. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        12
        Score
        YES
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Article 122 of the Electoral Act remarks “Political parties may use the banking services they deem appropriate; however funds originating from private donations, contributions or support received by political parties must be deposited in a single current account dedicated exclusively to these funds in any bank of the national banking system, and this account may be subdivided into sub- accounts”.

        Article 125 of the Electoral Act states, "The private direct financing of candidates and precandidates...is prohibited...All contributions must be channeled through the political party treasurer." The same article also stipulates that, "If contributions are intended for a specific candidate or precandidate, the treasurer will designate the contribution for that candidate, but he will be obligated to include the contribution in his reports. These contributions will be subject to the same restrictions, controls, and sanctions as contributions to parties." This means that even loans to candidates must be reported by the political parties of whom candidates are members.

        Articles 132 and 133 mandate that parties report all banking transactions in their accounting books, including loans.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The Bylaws establish the rules to register the accounting and financial information according to regular IFRS and IAS rules, including all financial operations and loans. See articles 2, 9, and 89.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 120, 122, 130, and 132, State Funding; Section VII, Private Funding. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter IV, article 79, 86 and 88. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Also check Advisory Opinion from TSE, N° 1344-E8-2013. http://www.tse.go.cr/juris/electorales/1344-E8-2013.html

        Reviewer's sources: Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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

        No such law exists. On the contrary, article 135 of Electoral Act, claims; “Costa Rican nationals can make contributions, donations or provide any other type of support in cash or in kind to political parties without any restrictions on their amounts."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. There is no maximum amount for the contributions, but Article 80 of the Bylaws of the Financing of Political Parties establish that the economic capacity of the contributor can be assessed by the authorities in order to determine whether there are irregularities.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 135, State Funding, Section VII, Private Funding. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter IV, article 79. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        14
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        Article 93 of the Bylaws for the Financing of Parties and Article 128 of the Electoral Act prohibit any contribution from corporations.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 128 State Funding, Section VII, Private Funding. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter IV, article 93 http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        15
        Score
        YES
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        Article 128 of the Electoral Code states “Foreigners and legal individuals of any kind and nationality are forbidden to make contributions, donations or provide support directly, indirectly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to defray the expenses of political parties. Foreign entities, whether natural or legal individuals, are also prohibited from granting loans, acquiring securities or undertaking any transaction involving benefit of any kind for political parties.”

        As previously noted, article 125 of the same law bans contributions to individual candidates, meaning that foreign donations to both candidates and parties are prohibited.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article nº 128 State Funding, Section VII, Private Funding. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter IV, article 93 http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        16
        Score
        YES
        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

        Article 93 of the Bylaws for the Financing of Parties prohibits any contribution from third parties actors. Articles 128 and 125 also ban contributions from legal entities. This prohibition applies to both parties and candidates.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Articles nº 125, 128 State Funding, Section VII, Private Funding. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter IV, article 93 http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        17
        Score
        NO
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        No such law exists. But the public funding available for parties on the electoral process is an amount equal to 0.19% of GDP for parties entitled to these funds. There are no explicit rules to limit campaign spending.

        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

        No such law exists.

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        18
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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

        The political finance laws and regulations blanket, equally, national, provincial and municipal political parties. There is no contrast in the coercivity of the rules as to the scale of the political party. Picado and Sibaja emphasize that the Electoral Code is the only legislation on electoral issues, although different amounts of public funds are distributed to parties based on the type of election under contestation.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - State financing of Municipal Elections was only introduced with the general Electoral reform of 2009 (with the incorporation of a 0,03% of the GDP allocation for municipal election). Before that, the separation of the electoral rules in the Municipal Code would not allow for central disbursement of funds from the State. The first disbursement of public funds was approved to a political party in 2011 through resolution N.°3824-E10-2011 of the TSE. However, it will not be until 2016 that the Municipal Elections will be fully implemented in Costa Rica.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Robles Leal, Alejandro. Financiamiento Estatal para los Procesos Electorales Municipales. Revista de Derecho Electoral. N 13, TSE. ISSN: 1659-2069. Enero-Junio, 2012. Available at: http://www.tse.go.cr/revista/articulos13.htm

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        19
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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Costa Rica has a mixed system of political financing. Public financing is predominant, but it is possible to obtain private financing under certain regulations. However, due to the payment of the contribution of the State - through reimbursement - both forms of financing are deeply integrated. This means that in practice, although the contribution of the state is high, parties depend on their ability to leverage private resources, loans and other financing.

        Sources concur that public finance are more important than private finance; but, is important remember that in the Costa Rican case, the payment model (reimbursement) forces political parties to seek private financing via grants, loans and trusts, to compete in the electoral process, against the promise of reimbursement after the elections. It is really a mixed model.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The records on the financial statements of the parties show that there is no tendency of self-financing from candidates (especially since there are no individual candidate scenarios in the country). There is also a constant income from individual donations reported, although the public financing is still high. However, the sale of certificates of public debt rely on a mechanism that is difficult to track and identify since it does not clearly allow for the determination of the extent of donations that are covered by public funds after the determination of the actual electoral results. The individual contribution statements are publicly available in the TSE website.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: TSE website 2010-2014 period: http://www.tse.go.cr/periodo20102014.htm

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        20
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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

        In the case of Costa Rican law, donations or contributions from individuals have no limit, so it's not possible to violate expenditure limits. In the case of the prohibition of contributions from legal persons and other inconsistencies, although rare, 8 documented cases that have been subject to administrative and financial sanctions by the TSE and prosecutors occurred in the 2010 elections (no data is yet available re: the 2014 elections).

        One case in the 2010 elections: the party PASE, showed a difference between their regular updates of financial statements and liquidation costs, which led to an official investigation by the TSE (reserved during the process, but public in its resolution). Also, there have been cases of illegal and unreported contributions, referred to the elections of 2010 (PLN and PASE). Because, the information on these cases was not found in the website of the TSE, the researcher has formally requested from the TSE delivery of the list, but has not yet received it.

        According to the XVIII State of the Nation, also referring to the 2010 elections "... in the PLN and ML investigations gave way to judicial processes." They cite several cases: first, the collection of 400 million of colones per simulated contracts of rental vehicles, which eventually were used in non-reported expenses by PLN; second, the ML has been questioned by the origin of some of the resources used in campaign and for 210 million of colones in political formation lectures, that apparently did not occur; third, the Costa Rican Renovation Party requested about 100 million of colones unauthorized receipts by the tax administration; and fourth, the political party PAC charged to the account of "special services" expenses like payment of salaries to high party leaders.

        For the 2014 elections it is too early to know whether there were any inconsistencies, since revisions to the settlement of expenditures of political parties are still underway. Currently there is a single case concerning the party PASE for inconsistencies in their liquidations and two other cases (PAC and National Renovation) regarding potential conflicts of interest by their public accountant.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014.

        Source: "Strengthening Democracy," Chapter V in The State of the Nation. The State of the Nation, 2012.
        http://www.estadonacion.or.cr/files/biblioteca_virtual/018/Cap-5-Fortalecimiento-de-la-Democracia.pdf

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    79
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        21
        Score
        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Article 125 of the Electoral Code states, "The private direct financing of candidates and precandidates...is prohibited...All contributions must be channeled through the political party treasurer." The same article also stipulates that, "If contributions are intended for a specific candidate or precandidate, the treasurer will designate the contribution for that candidate, but he will be obligated to include the contribution in his reports. These contributions will be subject to the same restrictions, controls, and sanctions as contributions to parties." This means that although candidates are not technically subject to reporting requirements, candidate finances are subsumed in party reports.

        By Article 132 of the Electoral Code, the treasurers of each political party are required to report their financial information, including donations, contributions, and support, to the TSE on a quarterly basis. During election campaigns, such reports must be filed on a monthly basis.

        Article 133 mandates that the quarterly reports be accompanied by detailed annexes that include bank and financial statements certified by a certified public accountant.

        Article 133 specifies that the reports must include a "detailed list that indicates the full name and the ID number of each donor, the amount of his donation in cash or in-kind, and if the donation has been made to the activities of the political party, or to the political activity of an official candidate or precandidate of the party..."

        The Bylaws on Financing Political Parties, in articles 2, 9, 88, and 89, provide even more detail on these requirements. The Bylaws establish the rules to register the accounting and financial information according to regular IFRS and IAS rules, including all financial operations and loan. This means that each asset, revenue, expense and cash flow must be itemized as part of the accounting rules.

        Article 88 of the Electoral Code mandates that parties keep detailed accounts of their spending, and that these accounts be made available to the TSE at its request. Quarterly reports on spending must be submitted to the TSE.

        In addition, according to Article 96(4) of the Constitution, "political parties are required to disclose their expenses before the TSE." Section IV of the introduction to the Bylaws on Financing further specifies this process, stating that parties must provide statements and documents, certified by a public accountant, to account for their spending on an annual basis.

        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

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter VI, Section I. Articles 2, 9, 87- 88, 93. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Articles 87-88, 125. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

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        22
        Score
        YES
        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

        Article 132 of the Electoral Act states: “Political party treasurers shall be obliged to report the donations, contributions or support they receive to the TSE quarterly. However, these reports shall be sent monthly during the period between the election call and polling day." As previously explained, contributions to candidates are, by law, included in party reports.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The Bylaws establish the rules to register the accounting and financial information according to regular IFRS and IAS rules, including all financial operations and loans (e.g. Articles 2, 9, 89 on the Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties).

        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

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter VI, Section I. Article 88. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article 132, 125. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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        23
        Score
        YES
        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

        Article 132 of the Electoral Act states: “Political party treasurers shall be obliged to report the donations, contributions or support they receive to the TSE quarterly. However, these reports shall be sent monthly during the period between the election call and polling day." As previously explained, contributions to candidates are, by law, included in party reports.

        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

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter VI, Section I. Article 88. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Articles 88, 125, 132. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

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        24
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        Election officials interviewed indicated that the current legislation is very strict in demanding financial reports. Political parties are required to report quarterly (outside of elections) and monthly (during elections) detailed financial information on contributions received to the TSE.

        The review of the reports of the parties to the TSE and the assessments that it makes regarding these reports shows that there exists a widespread practice and verifiable delivery of reports within what the law requires.

        Sibaja indicates that the parties met accurately, but not always transparently information reaches the public, unless it is formally requested.

        Reports of political parties, the revisions to the TSE and the findings can be analyzed in the TSE website and the available reports demonstrate that parties meet the monthly reporting requirements. As seen at the TSE site (check sources), PAC, PUSC, and ML, the main political parties in Costa Rica, all submitted reports monthly during the most recent campaign for which such data is available.

        There are cases of non- compliance, especially by provincial and municipal political parties, which result from reduced administrative and financial reporting capabilities. In relation to national political parties, there have been cases of delay, but the TSE has the capacity to call them to submit their reports as a condition to avoid being punished, and parties in practice submit their reports as required.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The political parties do comply with the reporting formalities, but questions have been made on certain aspects associated with the usage of the certificates of sell of public debt. This reality is evident when analyzing the public information related to financing through the sale of such certificates, since it is not separated and itemized.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014.

        Supreme Electoral Tribunal, "Webpages on Political Finance." Accessed on August 24, 2014. http://tse.go.cr/financiamientopartidos.htm and http://tse.go.cr/resultadorevision_liquidaciones.htm

        "TSE Evaluation of PAC Spending reports," TSE, 2012. http://tse.go.cr/juris/electorales/1354-E10-2012.html "TSE Evaluation of PLN Spending Reports," TSE, 2011. http://tse.go.cr/juris/electorales/6124-E10-2011.html "TSE Evaluation of PUSC Spending Reports," TSE, 2012. http://tse.go.cr/juris/electorales/2918-E10-2012.html "TSE Evaluation of ML Spending Reports," TSE, 2012. http://tse.go.cr/juris/electorales/4712-E10-2012.html

        Reviewer's sources: Political Party Financing through Certificates of Public Debt (TSE Report): http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/varios/operaciones_crediticias.pdf

        Constitutional Chamber. Resolution 15343. Available at: http://jurisprudencia.poder judicial.go.cr/SCIJPJ/busqueda/jurisprudencia/jurDocumento.aspx?param1=Ficha_Sentencia&nValor1=1&cmbDespacho=&txtAnno=&strNomDespacho=Sala Constitucional&nValor2=601423&lResultado=1&lVolverIndice=IndiceDespSent&param01=&param2=143&strTipM=T&strDirSel=directo

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        25
        Score
        75
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        As previously stated, political parties are required to regularly report all contributions they receive. In practice, parties are reasonably accurate in their reporting, and submit the reports required by law, but there is always the perception that parties may omit some contributors from their reports. The review of the reports of political parties by the TSE shows a high degree of compliance, especially because not doing so entails penal consequences. Political parties must report the name of the donor, its identification number, the amount contributed and the date of the contribution in a single list of contributors. Furthermore, these contributions must be deposited in a bank account, which there is a cross-check. Examples taken from the two main competitors in the 2014 election (Partido Accion Ciudadana and Partido Liberación Nacional), show reports than, as an example, report each individual contribution received in April/May 2014. The contributions are listed and clasified as Cash contributions for the period. On the yearly financial statement, the Political party has made a list of financial operations, assets, debts, contributions and expenses also in a detailed manner. All parties present their detailed reports; if not, the TSE does not approve withdrawals of funds. A party that does not reports can be stripped of their right to state contributions.

        The major findings from the TSE relate more to problems of settlement costs that the report of contributions, as evidenced by the cases of the Libertarian Movement in 2012 and PAC in 2014. There are still no complete revisions of the 2014 elections reports.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Note that the Report on the Financing of Transactions through Certificates of Public debt is bundled, does not specify the source or holder of the certificate and, as assessed by the minority vote at the Constitutional Chamber, it raises questions on adequate compliance with the transparency requirements set forth by law.

        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

        La Nación, "PAC paid ¢ 277 million a leader for unnecessary procedures," August 5, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/politica/PAC-pago-millones-tramite-innecesario01431056923.html

        Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014.

        Supreme Electoral Tribunal, "Webpages on Political Finance." Accessed on August 24, 2014. http://tse.go.cr/financiamientopartidos.htm and http://tse.go.cr/resultadorevision_liquidaciones.htm

        CRHoy, Multiple articles on Movimiento Libertario Party, June 25, July 2, July 27, 2012. http://www.crhoy.com/noticias-sobre/movimiento-libertario/page/3/ (Jun 25, July 2, July 27, 2012)

        Partido Accion Ciudadana (yearly financial statements): http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/estadosfinancieros/5/accionciudadana.pdf Partido Accion Ciudadana (Cash contributions): http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/contribuciones/abrilmayo_2014/acción%20ciudadana.pdf

        Partido Liberación Nacional (yearly financial statements): http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/estadosfinancieros/5/liberacionnacional.pdf Partido Liberación Nacional (Cash Payments): http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/contribuciones/abrilmayo_2014/liberación%20nacional.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Partido Accion Ciudadana and Partido Liberación Nacional (Financing through Certificates of public debt): http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/varios/operaciones_crediticias.pdf

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

        The law requires that the financial information of parties should be available to the public, published annually (in October) in a national newspaper. Article 87 of the Electoral Act states: ”The provisions of this Act concerning the financial regimes of political parties shall be interpreted and applied in adherence to the principles of legality, transparency, disclosure, accountability, liability and self- determination of political parties."

        Further, article 81 of the Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17, states: “The list of contributors and the total amount contributed by each of them shall be published in the month of October each year, in a national newspaper, with an audited statement of party finances”. Then, "as soon as these publications are produced, the Department of Financing Political Parties will divulge, via its website, the audited financial statements."

        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

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter VI, Section I. Article 81. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Articles 87, 88. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

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        27
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        The financial reports of political parties can be easily viewed by the Costa Rican citizenry through the website of the TSE or by request to the TSE for delivery of financial reports and reports of contributions to all political parties. The publication of information is periodic, as the parties deliver reports to the electoral body. All reports are available on the TSE website in PDF format. Reports are not machine readable.

        Sibaja also notes that some political parties like PAC have elected to upload such information to their websites, although information there may not always be totally up to date.

        The media can use the information in its own analysis, as demonstrated by several articles written by La Nación during and after the last elections (see reference above as an examples of a lot notes public by media).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The researcher is correct that information is available, but the certificates of public debt are still not easily tracked down to the current holder.

        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

        Supreme Electoral Tribunal, "Webpages on Political Finance." Accessed on August 24, 2014. http://tse.go.cr/financiamientopartidos.htm and http://tse.go.cr/resultadorevision_liquidaciones.htm

        La Nación, "PAC paid ¢ 277 million a leader for unnecessary procedures," August 5, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/politica/PAC-pago-millones-tramite-innecesario01431056923.html

        Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014.

        CRHoy, Multiple articles on Movimiento Libertario Party, June 25, July 2, July 27, 2012. http://www.crhoy.com/noticias-sobre/movimiento-libertario/page/3/

        Reviewer's sources: Partido Accion Ciudadana and Partido Liberación Nacional (Financing through Certificates of public debt): http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/varios/operaciones_crediticias.pdf

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        28
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        The TSE designs and delivers a manual on reporting that provides reference parameters for parties to follow in the submission of their financial information; also, standard accounting formats and income statements are often used. However, in reality, not all political parties submit their reports within these general guidelines. Political parties openly publish their contributions and contributors, but not all follow a single format, as shown by the reports available on the TSE website.

        The current regulation of finance provides a standardized instrument (software) that will be delivered to all parties and is expected to take effect from next year.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. There are minimum requirements set forth by the Electoral Law and the Bylaws in order to comply with IFRS and IAS rules in the financial statements of the company. However, other than complying with such requirements, there is no standardized format.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014.

        Supreme Electoral Tribunal, "Webpages on Political Finance." Accessed on August 24, 2014. http://tse.go.cr/financiamientopartidos.htm and http://tse.go.cr/resultadorevision_liquidaciones.htm

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        29
        Score
        75
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        The media covers the issue of political and electoral financing, but focuses more on the analysis of reports, tracking reports and investigations, as evidenced by the type of coverage made during 2013 and 2014 (see sources). It is noteworthy that only one newspaper has consistently been following the issue, as interest from other media outlets is more sporadic.

        Our review indicates that, of established newspapers, only The Nation has consistently shown substantial interest in the subject, while the online paper CRHoy has also monitored reports on the subject of political finance, but in general it has not been a topic of journalistic research. Semanario Universidad and La Extra have also covered political finance, but only Semanario Universidad has addressed officially published information.

        Sibaja considers that the level of media interest in political finance is small because of the sensitivity of the subject--media outlets are supposed to investigate topical issues, but they're also dependent on the investment of political parties (in terms of advertising) to generate revenue, and fear alienating their sources of revenue.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Alternative media, such as the University Newspaper of the UCR "Semanario Universidad", has evaluated the results of the financial information of the electoral campaign to critize the system, the expenditure of the biggest parties and to request legal reform.

        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

        La Nación, "PLN gastó en salarios tres veces más que todos sus rivales juntos, September 30, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/politica/PLN-salarios-veces-rivales-juntos01442255808.html

        La Nación, "Investigación en PAC señala despilfarro en campaña," September 6, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/politica/Investigacion-PAC-senala-despilfarro-campana01437456299.html

        La Nación, "Otto Guevara negocia crédito para asumir deudas del Movimiento Libertario," October 2, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/politica/Otto-Guevara-credito-Movimiento-Libertario01442655956.html

        La Nación, "PAC paid ¢ 277 million a leader for unnecessary procedures," August 5, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/politica/PAC-pago-millones-tramite-innecesario01431056923.html

        La Nación, "TSE limited transfer of bonds to finance political parties," August 5, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/TSE-traspaso-financiar-partidos-politicos01379862148.html

        Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014.

        CRHoy, "Guevara niega haber dado órdenes sobre cuestionadas capacitaciones en el ML," July 27, 2012. http://www.crhoy.com/guevara-niega-haber-dado-ordenes-sobre-cuestionadas-capacitaciones-en-el-ml/

        Reviewer's sources: Chavarria, David. "Fiesta con deuda política urge reducción drásticas de aporte estatal." Semanario Universidad. February 2012. Avalable at: http://www.semanariouniversidad.ucr.cr/component/content/article/1537-Pa%C3%ADs/5241--fiesta-con-deuda-politica-urge-reduccion-drastrica-de-aporte-estatal.html

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        30
        Score
        75
        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 the election process of 2013 - 2014, no conclusive violations of political finance laws have been identified. After the elections of 2014, there were a number of reports that discussed investigations that the TSE was conducting into improper payments or overestimation of expenses by at least one party. However, to date, there is no clear finding that there has been a violation of the rules on political financing.

        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

        La Nación, "PAC paid ¢ 277 million a leader for unnecessary procedures," August 5, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/politica/PAC-pago-millones-tramite-innecesario01431056923.html

        La Nación, "TSE limited transfer of bonds to finance political parties," November 22, 2013. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/TSE-traspaso-financiar-partidos-politicos01379862148.html

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014.

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        31
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        There were no reported cases of vote buying in the election of 2014, as evidenced by the complete lack of news on such issues. No incidents of vote buying appear in the report of the Observation Mission of the OAS on the Costa Rican elections.

        Sibaja recognized that there were some rumors, but it was not possible to verify such rumors. Two opposition parties made a "warning training" to try to identify a number of people (members of the government party) who were supposedly training others in such practices, but no formal complaint was filed, nor is there compelling evidence that vote buying actually occurred.

        As a background issue, mention may be made of a case that occurred during the 2010 elections. In a predominantly indigenous area in the Province of Limón, one person was reported to provide food packages to locals in exchange for votes. As a result, the vote was annulled in that district and the guilty person was criminally prosecuted.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014.

        OAS, "Verbal Report, Electoral Observation Mission, Costa Rica 2014." 2014. http://www.oas.org/es/sap/deco/moe_informe/InfoVerbalMOECostaRica2014.pdf

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        32
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        Although different organizations, universities, opinion makers and other stakeholders concerned with political financing have used official data for purposes such as diagnosis, assessment of the political system, debate, criticism, projections, and the formulation of proposals on electoral reform, Costa Rica has no civil organizations specialized on elections and political funding issues. There are no organizations which have developed processes for monitoring and reporting on the issue of political funding. This is a distinct difference with other countries in Latin America (See experience with the Lima Agreement).

        In the case of the last election, there are still no consistent publications that analyze the issue of funding. The State of the Nation Project is preparing a comprehensive report for this year, as it did for the 2010 election analysis. Other academics of differents entities like the Center for Research and Policy Studies of the University of Costa Rica, are considering developing research in this area, but not sure.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Non governmental organizations such as the Instituto Centroamericano de Gobernabilidad (ICG) have used public financial data in order to do analysis of the political accountability system in Costa Rica. This NGO has created a system of indicators in order to evaluate, among other things, political participation and representation, public planning, budgeting and evaluation. Their analysis does not include political finance information, but focuses on public budgets, etc.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        "Strengthening Democracy," Chapter V in The State of the Nation. The State of the Nation, 2012.
        http://www.estadonacion.or.cr/files/biblioteca_virtual/018/Cap-5-Fortalecimiento-de-la-Democracia.pdf

        List of Lima Accord Signatories, 2014. Note that no elections-oriented organization exists in Costa Rica. See: http://www.gndem.org/acuerdo-de-lima.

        Reviewer's sources: Publications of the Instituto Centroamericano de Gobernabilidad, accessed in December, 2014. http://www.icgweb.org/html/publicaciones.html

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        33
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        The most significant reform of the Electoral Act occurred in 2009 and was a renovation of the system for financing political parties, strengthened oversight capacity by the TSE, established a prohibitive sanctions regime on political financing and suppressed the possibility of contributions to parties from legal persons, corporations, and foreign actors, among other relevant measures. See the New Electoral Code by Sobrado in the sources for more detail on these measures.

        Following this, the TSE presented a reform bill in 2009 focused on improving the equity of the financing system and introducing a media access regime, but the proposal was not approved by the Legislature (See Reforma, adición y derogatoria de varios artículos del Código Electoral, 2009). Also, the proposal included provisions for establishing free transportation on election day, the elimination of state contribution certificates (bonds) and increased the advance state contribution to 50%. Actually, this project is ready to be voted on again at the electoral committee in the Legislative Assembly. In general, the main promoter of reform has been the PAC and the major opposition party has been the PLN, especially in reference with reforms to strengthen the system of control and supervision. However, there are no uniform positions on reform, but they vary depending on the topic in question.

        Finally, in 2013 there was a timely reform to reduce the percentage of GDP allocated to the financing of political parties, in response to the Costa Rican tax situation (See Reforma, adición y derogatoria de varios artículos del Código Electoral, 2013). As a result of the reform, the percentage was reduced from 0.19 to 0.11% of GDP, through a transitional item.

        Based on these reforms, the TSE – sequentially – made modification on the financial regulations for political parties.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The TSE reform bill mentioned by the researcher also includes reforms on the following topics: - Condidtions and thresholds to get preliminary funds for electoral campaigns - Sanctions for lack of compliance with electoral laws - More limitations on donations

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        General Reference: http://tse.go.cr/normativa.htm

        Sobrado, Luis Antonio and Hugo Picado, "El nuevo Código Electoral Costarricense," IDEA, 2010. http://www.idea.int/publications/comparativelaperspective/upload/experienciasdereforma_2.pdf

        Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, "Modificación del Código Electoral Ley N.º 8765, para agregarle un transitorio que modifique el monto del aporte estatal para las elecciones nacionales del 2014 y municipales del 2016," 2012. http://www.conare.ac.cr/proyectos/18357.pdf

        Supreme Electoral Tribunal, "Reforma, adición y derogatoria de varios artículos del Código Electoral, Ley N.° 8765," August 19, 2009. https://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/varios/proyecto-de-ley-reformas-electorales.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Supreme Electoral Tribunal, "Reforma, adición y derogatoria de varios artículos del Código Electoral, Ley N.° 8765," August 19, 2009. https://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/varios/proyecto-de-ley-reformas-electorales.pdf

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    Third Party Actors

    More about category
    composite
    50
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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
      More about category
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        34
        Score
        YES
        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 prohibited from engaging in political activity. Article 93 of Bylaws on Party Financing prohibits any contribution from third party actors/legal entities to political parties, as does article 128 of the Electoral Act. Article 128 prohibits both direct and indirect support, which includes advertising undertaken by third parties in support of political parties. Further, article 124 of the Electoral Act allows only “International organizations dedicated to the promotion of culture, political participation and the defense of democratic value may only collaborate in political party training processes provided that they respect the constitutional order and national sovereignty. These organizations must be accredited by the TSE."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The only additional control for thid-party actors in the electoral process is determined for universities and private poll companies who are obliged to register at the TSE before disclosing any poll or research during the elections, associated with the process.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96 Chapter II. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Articles 124, 128. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter III, Section IV, article 93. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

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        35
        Score
        50
        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

        Political parties are the only actor compelled to report to the TSE, the detail of the contributions they receive, including possible contributions from foundations for training. In Costa Rica, unions, political action committees, and other third party actors are banned from directly or indirectly contributing to political parties.

        There is the option that political parties authorize individuals or groups to raise funds on their behalf; in this case, any funds raised are subject to oversight by the TSE. In such cases, the involved political party must issue an authorization according to its rules of funding for a particular person or organization to collect funds in its name; with this authorization, the person or organization collects funds, delivers collected funds to the party, and the party must report everything to the TSE.

        For example, the Alliance Costa Rica organization, created by a group of businessmen during the last campaign, warned employees against voting for the Frente Amplio party. Their electoral activity, financial or otherwise, was not officially disclosed.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In connection with the legal prohibition to receive contributions from any type of corporation, there is a specific ban to channel funds to political parties through third party actors. As such, they are not bound by electoral laws to report itemized contributions to the TSE. However, they are bound by the regular Tax Laws to register as contributors and file income tax returns, although there is no current cross-check between the Tax Authorities and the Electoral Authorities on the matter.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014.

        "Grupo Alianza Costa Rica pide advertir a empleados sobre José María Villalta," La Nación, January 15, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/elecciones2014/Grupo-pide-advertir-empleados-Villlalta01390660976.html

        Reviewer's sources: Income Tax Law. http://meic.go.cr/tramites/espanol/legislacion/7092.PDF

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        36
        Score
        0
        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

        The financial information of third-party actors is private and not disclosed. The only public administration with access to this information is the Tax Authority, but any disclosure of financial information is a crime under the Tax Code.

        Some information on contributions from third party actors to political parties may be available via party reports on the TSE website, but the financial activities of third parties are not directly accessible.

        The financial books of Alliance Costa Rica, for example, were not publicly accessible.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        "Grupo Alianza Costa Rica pide advertir a empleados sobre José María Villalta," La Nación, January 15, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/elecciones2014/Grupo-pide-advertir-empleados-Villlalta01390660976.html

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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

        Costa Rica has a variety of third actors that are able to influence the electoral process, including private sector companies, cooperatives, trade unions and workers' associations, community development associations and others. The most notable forms of influence of these organizations on elections include mobilizing members to vote for a specific candidate, advertising to put issues on the public agenda, and promoting the interests of parties and candidates in order to generate public opinion for or against proposals, certain candidates, etc. In general, third actors do not explicitly support specific parties or candidates, but try to generate discussion and exert influence around certain policies or initiatives. One exception to this is the Alliance Costa Rica organization, created by a group of businessmen during the last campaign. This group warned employees against voting for the Frente Amplio party.

        There is no documented evidence that certain actors collect funds for a political organization. However, legally, it is permitted for party members to form an ad hoc organization to raise funds for the political party; however, to develop this task, there must be an express delegation of party officials and be reported to the TSE; if that is not done, the party and affiliates can face a sanction as a parallel organization.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Third-party actors are not allowed to make contributions to political parties and there has been no recent notice of uncompliance with the rule. Other political influence is held under the terms described by the researcher.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        "Grupo Alianza Costa Rica pide advertir a empleados sobre José María Villalta," La Nación, January 15, 2014. http://www.nacion.com/nacional/elecciones2014/Grupo-pide-advertir-empleados-Villlalta01390660976.html

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

    More about category
    composite
    89
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      Monitoring Capabilities
      More about category
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        38
        Score
        YES
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        The TSE is charged with monitoring political finance information in Costa Rica, and with auditing the financial reports submitted by political parties. Article 103 of the Electoral Act states that the "TSE is responsible for assessing the financial reports submitted to it and for ordering the payment of political party expenses included in state funding." By Article 123 of the same act, the TSE "can order audits on the finances of political parties."

        Indeed, for the assessment and subsequent payment of recognized expenses by means of audits of the financial information submitted by political parties, the TSE shall be empowered to systematize procedures that best protect the parameters of the expenses that are the object of reports. In this respect, it can randomly review items or specific headings of the expenses included in the reports to verify them.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 99, 102-103. Chapter III. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article 3, Chapter I. Articles 3, 12, 87, 103-107, 123. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Articles 9, 12. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

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

        Appointments to the TSE must be merit-based, but no legal requirement stipulates that the appointment process be public, nor are there strict regulations prohibiting detailed conflicts of interest.

        By Article 101 of the Constitution, the three judges and six alternates of the TSE are appointed to six year terms by a 2/3 vote of the Supreme Court, and appointees may not hold any other non-academic post during their tenure on the TSE. Article 100 stipulates that the requirements for Supreme Court Justices also apply to high-ranking members of the TSE. Consequently, Article 159 mandates that appointees to the TSE be Costa Rican nationals with a minimum of 10 years of legal experience, or at least 5 years of judicial experience. Article 192 states that all "public employees shall be appointed on the basis of proven ability," and this applies to members of the TSE.

        By article 12 of of the Organic Law on the Judiciary, all members of the judiciary should meet minimum requirements of mental and physical capacity, and convicted criminals are banned from appointment. Article 59 of the same law gives the Supreme Court the authority to appoint members of the TSE.

        Articles 160 and 161 of the Constitution bar appointees to the TSE from being family members with other appointees, and also decree that members of the TSE may not hold any other position in the Supreme Branch of government. Further, TSE magistrates should recuse themselves from cases in which they have a conflict of interest. See article 13 of the Electoral Act.

        No other prohibitions against bias or conflicts of interest are enumerated in the law.

        No provisions in the law mandate a public appointment process.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 99 and 100. Chapter III. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Organic Law of the Judicial Power, Nº 7333, 1993. article 12 and 59 (4). http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/leyorganicapoderjudicial.pdf

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article 07 (c), Article 13, Chapter I, http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

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

        The selection process of members of the key oversight authority occurs according to a lawful process. However, there is no public vetting of the process, and only the selection of the new members of theTSE is announced.

        • Each election judge who makes up the upper body of the TSE is appointed. TSE judges are appointed for six years and their terms are renewable; in both cases, must be qualified by the Supreme Court majority. In the last year there are no renewals of members of the electoral body.

        • The officials of the electoral body in charge of directions, headquarters and other positions are chosen based on the principle of proven ability as required by Article 192 of the current Constitution and under the regime of civil service that characterizes the entire Costa Rican public sector. For example, the appointment of the Director of the Electoral Register and Political Finance is performed by an independent technical merit-based process, but his position is treated as a trust position elected by the TSE. In the case of the Head of Finance Department, the selection is by open competition by the TSE. Once selected, appointees to such positions can only be dismissed by due process. In the case of the Director of the Electoral Register and Political Finance, the actual official was elected like a trust position - without competition -; in the case of the Head of Finance Department the process was public and competitive.

        Despite the legal mandates that regulate the appointment process, the election of judges to the TSE is a political issue. According to Sibaja, as a result, appointments do not exclude any interest, visions, or a certain degree of political influence. However, as reported by the OAS, the `history of Costa Rican TSE officials and technical level, appears as an independent and autonomous body from other branches of the State. There is no evidence – at media or public opinion - that the appointments of judges and officials at the TSE are anything but merit-based and fair. External assessments such as Observation Mission of the OAS certifies the quality of Costa Rican electoral organization and therefore the qualifications of its staff."

        The latest new addition to the TSE was Mrs Luz Retana Chinchilla, who was elected by the Supreme Tribunal in March, 2013. Her appointment complied with Constitutional requirements, but was not publicly vetted. The TSE announced her election in April, 2013.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        TSE Act 32.2913 announcing the appointment of Mrs. Chinchilla. April 2013. Available at: http://www.tse.go.cr/actas/2013/32-2013-del-2-de-abril-del-2013.html

        OAS, "Verbal Report, Electoral Observation Mission, Costa Rica 2014." 2014. http://www.oas.org/es/sap/deco/moe_informe/InfoVerbalMOECostaRica2014.pdf

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

        The independence of appointees to the TSE is guaranteed. Article 99 of the Constitution states that the TSE is empowered to supervise all "acts pertaining to suffrage," and that the TSE "enjoys independence in the performance of its duties." Further, article 102 empowers the TSE to "interpret, with exclusive and binding effect, all constitutional and legal provisions on electoral matters," and to "investigate...and render decisions" on electoral matters.

        Article 101 grants members of the TSE security of tenure, stating they "shall hold office for a term of six years," and grants them the "same immunities and prerogatives as members of the Supreme Branches of Government," which means they can't be dismissed unless they've engaged in some confirmed malfeasance.

        Further, their decisions are binding. By article 103, "There is no appeal against the decisions of the TSE,” and by article 3 of the Electoral Act, “The interpretations and advisory opinions are binding erga omnes TSE except for the Court itself, except as provided in Article 97 of the Constitution." Indeed, by article 97 of the constitution, "For the purposes of discussion and enactment of Bills concerning electoral matters, the Legislative Assembly shall consult the TSE, requiring the vote of two-thirds of all its members to deviate from its opinion. However, within the six months prior to and four months after a popular election is held, the Assembly may not enact any law based on bills concerning matters about which the TSE has expressed disagreement."

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 97, 99-103. Chapter III. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Organic Law of the Judicial Power, Nº 7333, 1993. article 12 and 59 (4). http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/leyorganicapoderjudicial.pdf

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Article 3. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

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

        Electoral judges are selected as part of the judicial system, which helps guarantee their independence. During the period of study, the TSE revised and issued rulings in cases without being subject to fear and favor from other branches of government. Environmentally speaking, there is no threat to the judges of the TSE, and there have been no recent cases in which members of the TSE were removed from office prior to the expiration of their term, or without due process. All judges fulfill their terms. The body's independence is bolstered by the fact that it's appointed by the independent Supreme Court, and by the binding nature of its decisions.

        Overall, sources report that official recognize that independence is one of the strengths of the Costa Rican electoral sysem. Analysts share this opinion, though some argue that the system by which TSE justices are elected could be improved based on the practices of other countries in the field. Nevertheless, no reform attempts have been initiated, as citizens and academics do not regard the independence of the TSE as under threat, despite an incident during the last election. During this incident, some accusations were made alleging political connections between the President of the TSE and a former President of Costa Rica, but they were never substantiated. More critically, the TSE's decision to appoint the current Director of the Electoral Register, Jeannette Ruiz, without holding a public competition raised some questions. However, in practice, the independence of the TSE appears to be guaranteed.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

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

        Decision making within the TSE consists of two clearly defined stages:

        • First, the General Direction of Electoral Registry and Political Party Funding department, which is responsible for receiving reports, verifying, developing research and conducting audits, etc., is the body responsible for carrying out the technical audit work, and recommending to the TSE the appropriate action, including potential sanctions.

        • Second, the plenum of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, reviews the information submitted by the department and can accept or change the decisions recommended by the technical body. The plenum gives final decisions on all matters concerning the TSE.

        Its work is conducted through deliberative processes among between the three sitting judges. The TSE's most important work is the review and audit of political party financial reports, in both electoral and non-electoral periods. The TSE is also charged with analyzing whether the direct participation of officials or public resources in the campaign for or against any political party has occurred. Its main strength is that it describes which expenses are applicable or not to be recoverable by public funds and which private contributions are in accordance with the provisions of the law.

        Methodologically, the TSE has several tools to carry out its tasks: it oversees through the review of reports of political parties; mechanisms for cross-checking with Tax Office, the social security and the banking system are applied; in case of finding irregularities, those incidents are investigated and reported to legal or tax authorities, for example, unregistered providers. The TSE has teams working by type of expenditure (public and private) and political party, which is periodically presented to the party for a monitoring process. Also, the TSE has the authority to make audits by random methodology (7 random audits of electoral participants after the 2010 elections, for example).

        Indeed, the review of the expense reports is performed by sampling; in case of doubt, comprehensive reviews can be made and - if need be – total audits. Finally, the TSE can sanction, including the ability to compel a political party to reimburse funds paid as part of the State contribution. The decisions - of the TSE as a superior body - are taken by a majority, and do not require unanimity.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014.

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

        Under a legal mandate, the TSE has the Department of Political Party Financing (DFPP) as a specialized panel in charge of overseeing compliance with the rules pertaining to political campaign financing. Thus, having a specialized technical unit makes monitoring more viable. This means that the TSE has a lot of capacity to do its work. Of course, the political parties have sufficient capacity for innovation, forcing the TSE to strengthen their units and procedures of control and inspection.

        From the short experiencia of the specialized Direction, the main limitation is related to the large number of parties that exist (national, provincial and municipal). A further limitation is the insufficient support of the Judiciary, given the slow pace of the research process, judgment and eventual conviction. Only one case - the aforementioned ML - has been elevated to trial. This slowness reduces oversight deterrent capability. The interviewed election officials recognize - that as compared with other electoral bodies in the region - TSE has the budget and staff to deal effectively with these functions; however, the number of political parties, the volume of information to be reviewed and the complexity of the funding practices of the parties, make the process slow and difficult. More staff and budget, complemented by more effective monitoring procedures can help improve efficiency.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In October 8th, 2014, the Financial Commission at the Legislative Assembly decided to make a reduction in the budget of the TSE of CRC 1,810 millions. The TSE responded with an official statement, clarifying the expected results of such a budgetary cut, which would impact for 2015: -The cease of operations for 7 regional representations -Affectation to Civil Registry services -Insufficient funds to support the Minor Identification Card -Affectation to basic operational aspects -Indirect affectation to the electoral process.

        The impact of the budget cut for Fiscal Year 2015 is too recent to provide an in-detail set of actual effects.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Official Statement by the TSE, October 9, 2014. Available at: http://www.tse.go.cr/comunicado221.htm

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

        Sources confirm that, when there's evidence that some party has violated political finance regulations, the TSE, through the DFPP, does indeed conduct investigations and audits as appropriate. For example, related to the potential participation of government officials in recent elections, which is a violation of the law, the TSE sanctioned 1 official in 2011, 2 in 2012, and 2 more in 2013. In numerous other cases, the TSE investigated potential discrepancies in reports, but determined that no further action was necessary. The TSE is currently reviewing the information submitted by parties during the 2014 elections, and has yet to determine which, if any, parties will be subject to further investigation.

        Currently, the TSE is developing audits to all the parties participating in the elections, having transcended investigation processes more detailed in relation with some expenses reported by PAC.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Although there is not a definite number of completed-on going investigations happening at the TSE, out of nearly 5000 resolutions issued in 2013 and 2000 resolutions issued in 2014, the Electoral and Administrative resolutions represent about a 10% of the overall amount. An interview with a Technical Official of the TSE confirms that the number of substantive investigations surpassed the minimum of 3 after the last electoral process.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        Source: Electoral Resolutions by Year, TSE. 1946-2014.
        http://www.tse.go.cr/juris_anual.htm, accessed on October 28, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Number of resolutions issued by year (TSE): http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/varios/estadisticas_resoluciones.pdf

        Interview with Andrei Cambronero Torres, Technical Official of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and Professor of the University of Costa Rica, November 4th, 2014.

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        50
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        The investigations are made public upon completion. However, the length of time in which audit and investigation results are published depends on the legal scope and complexity of each individual case. If there is the presumption of criminal offense, reports and research developed by the TSE are referred in strict confidence to the Public Ministry.

        Usually when there is a complaint or an investigation of this type, the media is the first to report the matter and make it known to the public. The problem with this type of complaint is that the media are media and courts at once, and publish the complaint or the initiation of an investigation, pointing to "the guilty" at once and crimes against them. This generates a good deal of dissonance between the actual processes followed, that requires careful research time and times of news that usually refer to junctures. There is no set time between when an investigation is completed and published--the timing of publication depends on when the electoral body approves the report and issues a final resolution.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The results of the investigations are publicly available at The TSE Website. As of the date of this review, the latest resolutions are dated from the last week of October, and it is thus presumable that after a resolution has been made on a matter, the timeframe of publication is less than a month. However, it is difficult to definitively determine the timeframe of response between the conclusion of an investigation and the official resolution of The TSE.

        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

        Source: Electoral Resolutions by Year, TSE. 1946-2014.
        http://www.tse.go.cr/juris_anual.htm, accessed on October 28, 2014.

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: TSE Website (Resolutions by year): http://www.tse.go.cr/juris_anual.htm

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
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        47
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        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        The Electoral Act (articles 273, 274, 275, 276, 287, 288) and the Regulation on financing of political parties (articles 93 and 94) establish the list of sanctions for illegal political funding practices. Each of these articles is listed below:

        ELECTORAL ACT

        ARTICLE 273 - Crimes relating to political party funding

        Any person who raises funds for any political party without having been authorized to do so by the party treasurer shall be liable to two to four years’ imprisonment. A term of imprisonment of three to six years shall be imposed on public auditors who certify audits of expenses of state funding with their signatures having concealed information, entered false data in the certification of party expenses or in the internal control report concerning them, or having refused to provide the information required by the Tribunal for the purpose of verifying the audit of expenses reimbursable by state funding.

        ARTICLE 274 - Crimes relating to private contributions

        The following individuals shall be liable to two to four years’ imprisonment:

        a) Any person who makes contributions or donations in cash or in kind to a political party on behalf of a foreign national or a Costa Rican or foreign legal entity.

        b) Any foreign national who makes contributions or donations in cash or in kind to a political party, except in the situation covered by Article 124 of this Act.

        c) Any foreign national or legal representative of a foreign legal entity that acquires bonds or carries out other financial transactions related to political parties.

        d) Any person who makes contributions or donations directly to factions, candidates or primary election candidates officially registered by political parties, evading the controls on party finances.

        e) Any person who makes contributions or donations or provides any other type of support, in cash or in kind, to a political party through third parties, parallel groups or organizations or through the use of administrative or fundraising mechanism that are not previously authorized by the supreme executive committee of the party.

        ARTICLE 275 - Crimes relating to the receipt of illegal private contributions

        Any treasurer of the supreme executive committee of a party who fails to maintain a record of the fundraising activities of the party including those of factions and movements shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of one year.

        The following individuals shall be liable to two to six years’ imprisonment:

        a) Any member(s) of party supreme executive committees who have knowledge of contributions or donations in cash or in kind that contravene the provisions of this Act and do not report them to the competent authorities.

        b) Any member(s) of party supreme executive committees, candidates and primary election candidates officially registered by political parties, election campaign officials or any political party representatives who receive contributions, donations or any other type of support using a parallel structure to avoid the supervision of the political party.

        c) Any member(s) of party supreme executive committees, leaderships of election campaigns or any other party representative who receives contributions, donations or any other type of illegal support.

        d) Any candidate or primary election candidate officially registered by a political party who receives contributions or donations directly.

        ARTICLE 276 - Crimes relating to party treasurers

        The following individuals shall be liable to two to four years’ imprisonment:

        a) Party treasurers or individuals authorized by political parties to manage party funds, who receive contributions, donations, loans or support, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, in contravention of the provisions of this Act, when these originate from foreign legal entities, are deposited in foreign bank accounts or are effected through parallel structures.

        b) Political party treasurers who, having been informed by the Tribunal of the duty to report contributions, donations and support in cash or in kind received by this political party, fail to send these report, submit incomplete reports or delay them without just cause.

        c) Political party treasurers who do not provide information from audits of private contributions made to the party when formally requested to do so by the Tribunal or provide false data.

        d) Treasurers who do not immediately notify the Tribunal of irregular private contributions made to political parties or illegal deposits made into the single account of the party.

        e) Treasurers who receive contributions from international organizations not accredited with the Tribunal.

        Treasurers who receive anonymous contributions made to a political party shall be liable to two to six years’ imprisonment.

        ARTICLE 287 - Fines relating to the monitoring of private contributions

        The following entities shall be liable to a fine of two to ten times the statutory monthly minimum wage:

        a) Political parties that contravene the provisions of Article 88 of this Act.

        b) Political parties that contravene the provisions of Article 122 of this Act.

        c) Those responsible for the finances of officially registered primary election candidates or candidates who do not comply with the provisions of Article 127 of this Act.

        d) Banks managing single bank accounts of political parties that do not comply with the obligations stipulated in Article 122 of this Act.

        ARTICLE 288 - Fines for the receipt of irregular contributions

        The following entities shall be liable to a fine equivalent to double the amount received as an irregular contribution:

        a) Political parties receiving contributions in contravention of Article 123 of this Act.

        b) Political parties receiving contributions, donations or any other type of support in contravention of Article 129 of this Act.

        c) Political parties receiving contributions in contravention of Article 128 of this Act.

        The Regulation of Financing of Political Parties, complements these sanctions, making explicit bans on funding and determining the procedure for the imposition of sanctions.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 102. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter VI, Articles 93 (12)-94. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Articles 273-27, 287-288. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

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

        The TSE has the authority to impose monetary sanctions, and can pass along the results of investigations to the public prosecutor, but it cannot initiate prosecutions itself.

        Article 285 of the Electoral Act states: “The respective criminal courts shall have the jurisdiction to try the crimes stipulated in the foregoing articles”. (271-284)

        According to article 297: “The TSE shall be responsible for the imposition of fines for the electoral offenses regulated in this Act, through the Political Party Funding Department, whose decisions can be appealed to the Tribunal.”


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Articles 286 and following articles establish the monetary sanctions that the TSE can impose on offenders. Among the sanctioned conducts we can find: a. Propaganda in unauthorized periods; b. Lack of registry of private contributions to political parties; c. Acceptance of irregular contributions; d. Illegal dissemination of propaganda or poll information; among others.

        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

        Constitution of Republic of Costa Rica, 1949. Article nº 96. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/constitucion.pdf, (English) http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=219959

        Bylaws for the Financing of Political Parties, Decree 17. 2009. Chapter VI, Article 94. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/financiamientodelospartidospoliticos.pdf

        Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. Articles 285, 297. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Electoral Act. Law Nº 8765, 2009. http://www.tse.go.cr/pdf/normativa/codigoelectoral.pdf

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        100
        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        Since the promulgation of the Electoral Code of 2009, the level of compliance with sanctions is high. In that sense, this imposition is as broadly or narrowly as established by the Electoral Code--the tools that the TSE is accorded in law with which to force compliance with its decisions are limited, but to date, have been effective in practice.

        In practice few penalties are imposed by the TSE. In the case of PLN, the financial penalty levied by the TSE was paid on time; if a party fails to pay the penalty, the TSE has extraordinary resources to enforce payment. That is the case of PUSC in the 2010 election. The party was fined by TSE, but failed to pay the fine. In response, the TSE used its enforcement capacity to force the party to pay, threatening PUSC with a 5% reduction of the state funding they were due. PUSC then paid the prescribed fine. As a result, the TSE has the power to force compliance with its sanctions in some cases.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In practice, sanctions have been imposed on political parties and the sanction has been deducted from the public state contribution to the party at the moment of liquidation of the electoral debt after the elections.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with Andrei Cambronero Torres, Technical Official of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and Professor of the University of Costa Rica, November 4th, 2014.

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

        The capacity of the TSE to enforce sanctions is relatively strong. Even when criminal cases are warranted, the imposition of fines may be a more effective means of forcing parties to comply with existing regulations, at least until the courts and prosecutors acquire greater skills in electoral matters. Two factors explain the ability of the TSE to coerce compliance. First, the publication of financial data and reports generates social pressure, especially by the media, for parties to comply; second, the fear of being formally punished by the state via administrative proceedings and the revocation of state subsidies often compels parties to comply.

        There are no severe conditions that prevent objectively applying the rules on funding, although problems related to the number of personnel and the slow pace of prosecution once criminal violations are identified reduces the effectiveness of the system.

        Precisely for this reason, as previously mentioned, there are possibilities for improving the financing system as a whole. The most key potential reforms are the following:

        1. Regulation of the pre-campaigns and primaries for transparent funding flows received by precandidates. Jeannette Ruiz of the PAC party proposed this reform during the previous legislative period.

        2. Establish an equitable system of access to the media to improve the competitiveness of elections.

        3. Establishing limits on electoral expenditure by type of election, to reduce the need of party money.

        4. Increase the advance amount that is given to parties for electoral competition and establishing a system for new parties have access to it.

        5. Creation of a specific electoral prosecution.

        As institutional and procedural:

        1. Increase the financial and human resources of the General Electoral Registry, in charge of political funding issues.

        2. Standardization of formats for submission of information by political parties.

        3. Establishment of strict time limits for the processes of analysis and research.

        This list is not comprehensive, but it reflects the main concerns in relation to the funding regime and the growing demand for equity and competitiveness arising from the parties and from the media, academia and civil society. Of course, there are more radical voices that speak of severe changes, such as banning private funding or slashing public funding, etc. but such proposals do not meet a high degree of consensus. In Costa Rica, as in many other countries, the debate on political funding is endless.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The most urgent electoral changes required to ensure enforcement are:

        -Changes to the public financing rules to ensure equitable access to the electoral campaign to small and new parties and strenghten the peer-to-peer control over irregularities and maneuvers; -Access to free air time to all parties, to strengthen peer-to-peer control over irregularities in the electoral process -Operational changes at the TSE to easily grant online access to the average citizen to claims against political parties and the results of each individual investigations (the negative results being a way of creating civil control over the actions of the representatives and the positive results as a way of maintaining the reputation of the political parties) -Allow independent candidates and adequate funding for their campaign -Allow the TSE to be part of the technical prosecution of Electoral crimes, since currently such task completely relies on the Prosecutor's Office -Change the collateral warranty requirements to ensure that small and new parties will have part of the distribution of the electoral debt to ensure multipartisan participation in the Elections.

        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

        Interview with Ronald Chacón Badilla, Chief of the Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Mario Matarrita Arroyo, Lawyer, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 21, 2014. Interview with Hugo Picado León, Director of the Institute for Electoral Training (IFED by its acronym in Spanish), Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 18, 2014. Interview with Gina Sibaja Quesada, Researcher and Teacher in the School of Political Science, University of Costa Rica, August 24, 2014. Interview with Héctor Fernández, Director of Electoral Registry and Political Parties Finance Department, Supreme Electoral Tribunal, August 12, 2014. Interview with Andrés Araya, Executive Director, Costa Rica Integra (National Contact of Transparency International), August 12, 2014. Interview with Randall Arias, Executive Director, Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), August 14, 2014. Interview with Steffan Gómez, Researcher, State of the Nation Program, August 14, 2014.

In Costa Rica, the elected President is the Head of State. Presidential candidates must receive at least 40% of the national vote in order to assume office in the first round of voting; if no candidate achieves this percentage, a runoff election between the top two candidates is held to determine the winner (the second time being elected by the simple majority of the voters). Presidents are elected to four year terms, and may not be reelected to consecutive terms. The most recent presidential elections were held in February (first round) and April (second round) of 2014, and were won by Luis Guillermo Solís of the Acción Ciudadana political party (PAC). Campaign funds and presidential campaigns are a monopoly of political parties.

The unicameral legislature, referred to as the Legislative Assembly, is composed of 57 members elected by proportional representation in 7 multi-member constituencies. Candidates run on closed party lists. Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected to 4 year terms, and may not hold office for consecutive terms. The most recent parliamentary elections were held concurrently with the first round of the presidential elections in February 2014. The Liberación Nacional political party (PLN) took 18 seats after receiving 25% of the vote, followed by the PAC with 13 seats (24% of the vote), the Frente Amplio party with 9 seats (13%) and the Unidad Social Cristiana Party with 8 seats (10%) of the vote, with a variety of other parties obtaining the remaining seats. There are also no independent candidates for Legislative seats.

In Costa Rica, the financing of the elections relies on a mixed system of both public and private contribution. The public contribution works retroactively as a reimbursement, but a percentage of the funds can be accessed in advance by offering collateral warranties and there is a final liquidation of the public debt or the execution of the warranty depending on whether the political party reached or not the minimum requirements established by the Political Constitution for public support. The private funding is subject to transparency and reporting controls. It is not customary that the candidate contributes to the campaign, although there is no legal prohibition to do so, since all individual contributions are channeled to the political party through the Treasury.