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Italy

In law
52
In practice
28

In Italy, parties receive direct public funding (though subsidies will be phased out entirely by 2017). They also receive free access to airtime for advertising purposes during campaigns, which, with few exceptions, is distributed equitably and transparently. Non-financial state resources are often used for electoral purposes. Individuals and corporations are limited in how much they can donate to parties, but not to individual candidates, and spending by both parties and candidates is capped during campaigns. Historically, parties are very reliant on public funding, though this will change as allocations of public funds diminish in the next few years. Both parties and candidates are required to report their financial information during campaigns, but only parties must submit reports outside of the campaign season. Submitted reports often contain, at best, a partially itemized list of all contributors, and lack some information. In public, it is difficult for the public to access high quality, machine readable, and standardized political finance information. Vote buying was common in Italy during the 2013 elections, as were other political finance violations. Some third party actors are required to report on their independent political activity, but trade unions and non profits are under no such obligations. This means that, in practice, the political actions of third party actors are mostly opaque. Recent reforms established a monitoring commission but the commission has no investigatory powers, and its appointees are neither completely merit based nor guaranteed full independence in practice. Its capacity to exercise control of political finance is limited, it carries out no investigations, and its administrative sanctions do not prevent frequent violations of the law.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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

        In February 2014 a new law on the funding of political parties was approved in Italy repealing any form of direct state contribution to political parties, including contributions for campaign activities for both Chambers of the Italian Parliament (Chamber of Deputies and Senate of the Republic). Under article 1 of the 2014 law, “election reimbursement and public funding disbursed for political activities are abolished”.

        To be noticed, however, that the 2014 law does not have retroactive force. Under article 14, in fact, “political parties and movements entitled to public financing under the law of 6 July 2012, n. 96, and law of 3 June 1999, n. 157, in relation to elections taking place before the entry into force of the current act and whose disbursement has still not taken place, keep benefiting of public funds in the current and the three next accounting years.” This implies that political parties eligible for public funding of campaign activities under the previous legislation will still benefit from public contributions with respect to the election campaigns that took place before the entry into force of the law. Yet, the law established a gradual decrease in the amount of funds that those political parties and candidates will receive: in 2014: -25%; in 2015: -50%; in 2016: -75%.

        This law was adopted after a series of political finance scandals that have emerged in the country regarding the improper use of public funds by political parties and individual candidates. Those scandals raised the attention of the media on political finance issues and determined a wave of citizens’ disapproval with respect to public funding to political parties. Criticism also derived from the exponential heightening of public contributions that Italian political parties and candidates received for the reimbursement of their electoral expenses from the mid-1990s onwards.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The Art. 1 of the law n. 13/2014 is entitled “Abolition of public funding and goals [of the law]”. The new provisions suppress “the electoral reimbursements and the public contributions assigned to political activities and those attributed as matching funds”: while electoral reimbursements were granted to political parties since 1974, matching funds were introduced in 2012 (L. 96). The new discipline regulates the access, for political parties, to “forms of voluntary, tax-deductible contributions and forms of indirect contributions founded on the choices made by citizens in favour of those political parties that comply with the requisites of transparency and internal democracy”. Thus, the law provides a set of specific provisions on intra-party democracy, transparency and controls (from art. 2 to art. 9).

        The suppression of direct contributions is depicted as the by-product of the growing disaffection of citizens towards Italian politics as well as an effect of the economic crisis. Both these aspects emerge in the Preamble of the law n. 13/2014, as its adoption is justified as it follows: “by considering the difficult economic situation of the Country which urgently imposes the adoption of measures aimed to cut the public spending; in line with citizens' expectations toward the suppression of the public funding to political parties, coherently with the austerity and rigour of the budgetary policies adopted in recent years; […] by considering also the opportunity do adopt a new financing system founded on the central role of the citizens and their autonomous choices, as taxpayers, to finance political parties; [...]”.

        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

        1) Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding'. 2014. Articles 1, 14. Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892.

        2) Law 96/2012, 'Norms on the reduction of public funding to political parties and movements, and dispositions for granting transparency and control of their financial accounts'. 2012. Article: 9. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

        Reviewer's sources: Pizzimenti, E. (2014), “The Italian Case: Party Collusion, Normative Layering and Lack of Controls”. Paper presented at APSA Conference, Sydney, 28 Sept.-1 Oct. 2014

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        NO
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        Since February 2014 any form of direct public funding, including funding for electoral campaigns, is abolished in Italy. Political parties are no longer provided with direct public funds from state resources. Under article 1 of the 2014 law, “election reimbursement and public funding disbursed for political activities are abolished”.

        However, under article 14, “political parties and movements entitled to public financing under the law of 6 July 2012, n. 96, and law of 3 June 1999, n. 157, in relation to elections taking place before the entry into force of the current act and whose disbursement has still not taken place, keep benefiting of public funds in the current and the three next accounting years.” This implies that political parties eligible for public funding of campaign activities under the previous legislation will still benefit from public contributions with respect to the election campaigns that took place before the entry into force of the law.

        Based on the previous legislation (law of 6 July 2012, art. 6), eligibility and allocation criteria were clearly defined. In order to be eligible for direct public funding for electoral campaigns political parties had to achieve parliamentary representation. The allocation criteria differed depending on the individual chamber of the Italian parliament: based on the proportion of votes each political party obtained (for the Chamber of Deputies); based on a formula accounting for the amount of the population of the individual Italian Regions and for the proportion of votes obtained (for the Senate of the Republic). This distribution cannot be considered equitable, however, as it does not permit parties who did not win seats in the prior election to access public funding, leaving them at an electoral disadvantage. In sum, the eligibility criteria are clear, but the distribution mechanism is not equitable.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree.
        Unlike L. 13/2014, Law 96/2012 was not intended to eliminate public funding, but to modify and rationalize the existing regime, by reducing the maximum amount of State subsidies to 91 Mls Euros, thus 50% less than in 2011. The cut of public funds to political parties had already begun in 2007 (- 10%) and between 2010 and 2011 (- 20%). The reform promoted in 2012 distinguished between direct contributions for electoral reimbursement and political activities (70% of the total amount of the funds), on the one hand; on the other, a co-funding scheme in proportion to the funds parties were able to collect autonomously through grass-roots revenues and private donations (30%). Although the introduction of a co-funding scheme was intended to promote political participation, parties could benefit of State subsidies only if they passed the 2% election threshold and/or if they could elect at least one candidate to the EP or in a Regional Council. Law 13/2014 abolished all direct funding and progressively reduced the amount of the funds due for the following three years.

        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

        1) Law 96/2012, 'Norms on the reduction of public funding to political parties and movements, and dispositions for granting transparency and control of their financial accounts'. 2012. Article 9. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

        2) Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding'. 2014. Article 4. Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892.

        3) Law 3/199, 'New rules on the reimbursement of expenses for elections and referendums and repeal the provisions relating to voluntary contributions to political parties and movements.'1999. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1999;157

        Reviewer's sources: Pizzimenti, E. (2014), “The Italian Case: Party Collusion, Normative Layering and Lack of Controls”. Paper presented at APSA Conference, Sydney, 28 Sept.-1 Oct. 2014

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        Eligibility criteria and the mechanisms that allocate election campaign funding are clearly defined and consistency applied. Here, the requirements specified by law are implemented in practice.

        After the latest national parliamentary elections were held (February 2013), following the procedure set by law, a Decree of the President of the Chamber of Deputies was published specifying in detail the allocation among eligible parties of election funding. Political parties falling below the eligibility threshold (1 elected candidate in either one of the two Chambers of the Italian parliament) have not received state contributions. No public funding was allotted directly to candidates, and current law has abrogated public funding in Italy, which will be totally phased out in the coming years.

        In July 2013 the total amount of public funds destined to political parties as electoral reimbursements for the elections of the Chamber of Deputies (2013), Regional Councils (2013) and former assignments to be paid was 56.3 million Euros. The Presidency Office of the Chamber of Deputies, on the basis of the criteria set by l. 96/2012, assigned 18.6 million to PdL (the centre-right party founded and dominated by Berlusconi), 18 million to PD (the centre-left party now presided by Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister), 5.3 million to Northern League (the euro-skeptic party), 3.1 to UdC (a small centrist party), 1.4 million to Scelta Civica (the party of former Prime Minister Mario Monti), 1.1 million to SEL (a leftist party) and 442.000 Euros to Fratelli d'Italia (a right-wing party). The Movimento 5 Stelle, the movemente founded by the comician Beppe Grillo, renounced the electoral reimbursements due (4,2 million), in line with its electoral campaign and party manifesto.

        The mentioned amounts must be integrated with the electoral reimbursements set for the Senate (tot. 16.1 million) and for the co-funding system (2.5 million).

        As Davide del Monte (Transparency International - Italia) states, there are no instances of public funding not being disbursed according to the legally prescribed procedures.

        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

        1) Official document (on funding allocation) Decree of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, July 25, 2013 Link: http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/do/atto/serie_generale/caricaPdf?cdimg=13A0652700100020110001&dgu=2013-07-29&art.dataPubblicazioneGazzetta=2013-07-29&art.codiceRedazionale=13A06527&art.num=2&art.tiposerie=SG.

        2) News story: ‘Camera, assegnati soldi di luglio del finanziamento ai partiti’, La Repubblica, July 25, 2013. Link: http://www.repubblica.it/politica/2013/07/25/news/finanziamentoaipartitiassegnatiisoldidi_luglio-63710912/.

        "Reimbursements to Electoral Parties," Italia and Mondo, July 26, 2013. http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2013-07-26/rimborsi-elettorali-partiti-milioni-064447.shtml?uuid=AbePVaHI

        "Electoral Reimbursements: the parties divide 56.3 million, and M5 renounces," Il Fatto Quotidiano, July 25, 2013. http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2013/07/25/camera-rimborsi-elettorali-partiti-si-spartiscono-563-milioni-m5s-rinuncia/667366/

        3) Davide del Monte (Transparency International - Italia). Interviewed on July 23, 2014.

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        75
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Complete information on the disbursement of direct public funding provided to political parties (including a list of eligible parties, specific amounts, and dates of disbursement) for the most recent national electoral campaign is publicly available on-line. With respect to the latest national political elections (held in February 2013), the authorities issued such information in July 2013, immediately after the government disbursed the respective funding.

        According to Davide del Monte (Transparency International – Italia), “the political finance legal framework is complex and has experienced several changes. However, it is possible to observe an overall improvement with respect to the transparency of the system”.

        No funding is disbursed to senatorial candidates. Note that, as previously explained, direct public funding has been abolished in Italy, and will be phased out in the next few years.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Party balances are published (also in open data format) on party websites and in a dedicated section of the website of the Chamber of Deputies (see the first link below).

        By analyzing the websites of the major Italian parties I found that the Partito Democratico has an accurated section dedicate to party finance and transparency (see the 2nd link below); also Forza Italia (3rd link), the Movimento 5 Stelle (4th link), Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà (5th) present accessible and detailed info, while the website of the Nuovo Centrodestra is less user-friendly.

        Chamber of Deputies, 2013 disbursement information.
        http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/atto/serie_generale/caricaDettaglioAtto/originario?atto.dataPubblicazioneGazzetta=2013-07-29&atto.codiceRedazionale=13A06527&elenco30giorni=false

        Democratic Party website, http://www.partitodemocratico.it/trasparenza

        Forza Italia website, http://www.forzaitalia.it/notizie/11223/Rendicontodellesercizio_2013

        5 Star Movement website, http://www.tirendiconto.it/trasparenza/

        Sinistra Ecologia e Liberta website, http://www.sinistraecologialiberta.it/partito/tesoreria/

        All websites accessed September, 2014.

        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

        1) Official document. Decree of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, July 25, 2013. Link: http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/atto/serie_generale/caricaDettaglioAtto/originario?atto.dataPubblicazioneGazzetta=2013-07-29&atto.codiceRedazionale=13A06527&elenco30giorni=false.

        2) News story. 'Camera. Assegnati i soldi di luglio del finanziamento ai partiti. July 25, 2013. Link: http://www.repubblica.it/politica/2013/07/25/news/finanziamentoaipartitiassegnatiisoldidi_luglio-63710912/.

        3) Davide del Monte. Transparency International – Italia. Interviewed on July 23, 2014.

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

        There is no explicit ban on the use of non-financial resources.

        However, in February 2014, a new law abolished any form of direct public funding, including funding for electoral campaigns, for both political parties and candidates. Political actors are no longer provided with direct public funds from state resources. Under article 1 of the 2014 law, “election reimbursement and public funding disbursed for political activities are abolished”.

        It's worth noting that, by the same law, donations to political parties are eligible for tax deduction. Under article 11, “From 2014, donations to political parties from physical persons [...] are allowed to a tax deduction [...], corresponding to 26 per cent for the amounts from 30 to 30,000 euros.” Second, under article 12, “taxpayers may earmark 2 x 1,000 of their personal income tax for the funding an individual political party”. In order to benefit from these indirect state resources, political parties must have achieved parliamentary representation, and must have registered their statute in the Party Register. Additionally, indirect state resources are provided to all political parties participating in election campaigns in the form of free media access, free public spaces (i.e.: billboards, public meeting rooms, etc.), and discount postage rates for campaign mailing purposes (as in laws 28/2000 and 515/1993, respectively).


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The Italian law does not explicitly ban the use of State's non financial resources. I agree with the comment. It is possible to cite the Evaluation Report on Italy adopted by GRECO in 2012, more specifically with regard to indirect funding: “Law. No. 28/2000 establishes that all programmes on political communication should provide for equal access to all political sujects […]. The principle of equal access to broadcasting time is put into practice through the provision of free airtime in national broadcasting services […]. Discount postage rates for campaign mailing purposes apply during the 30 days preceding electoral campaigns […]. Campaign hoarding (billboards) as well as the use of public meeting rooms are provided free of charge by municipalities during election campaigns. […] In addition fiscal discounts apply to a broad range of party related activities”.

        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

        1) Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding'. 2014. Articles 11, 12. Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892.

        2) Law 28/2000, 'Norms for equal access to the media during electoral campaigns, referendum campaigns and political communication'. 2000. Article 3. Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65.

        3) Law 515/1993, 'Norms regulating electoral campaigns for the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republica'. 1993. Articles 17, 18, 19. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=.

        Reviewer's sources: GRECO (2012). Evaluation Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoEval3(2011)7ItalyTwo_EN.pdf

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        0
        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

        The provision of non-financial resources was the first type of (indirect) state funding to political parties and candidates in Italy. Besides introducing direct forms of public funding to political parties and candidates in 1974, Italy legally allows the use of state resources such as free public spaces, billboards, media access, postal services for election campaigns, as well as tax exemptions. Under the most recent political finance law, Italian political parties and candidates will lose all direct public funding by 2017. Non-financial state resources have been regularly used by eligible political parties and candidates.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The public debate focused on the matter of political opportunity (in times of economic crisis) rather than on violations: the use of state resources by candidates, although not explicitly banned, has been considered counter-productive in terms of political pay-off, due to the dramatic discontent towards party politics. In particular, the idea that public funds to political parties should be cut was central during the “Tsunami Tour” organized by the Movimento 5 Stelle and its charismatic leader (see link below). Unsurprisngly, then, the abolition of state funds and other forms of public subsidies to politcs was among the priorities of the government lead by Matteo Renzi (PD): in addition, the Spending Review Process argued that 150 vehicles used by politicians should be sold. Each of the sources below make it clear that Italian politicians have regularly used state resources in electoral campaigns.

        "Beppe Grillo's Tsunami Tour," January 11, 2013. http://www.beppegrillo.it/2013/01/tsunami_tour.html

        "Spending Review: Cuts to Cars, Police, and Pensions," Il Fatto and Quotidiano, March 12, 2014. http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2014/03/12/governo-renzi-auto-blu-allasta-su-e-bay-i-sottosegretari-faranno-senza/910883/

        "The Blue Car on EBay," Il Giornale, March 26, 2014. http://www.ilgiornale.it/news/interni/auto-blu-allasta-su-ebay-1004977.html

        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

        1) News story: ‘Camera, assegnati soldi di luglio del finanziamento ai partiti’, by Redazione, La Repubblica, July 25, 2013. Link: http://www.repubblica.it/politica/2013/07/25/news/finanziamentoaipartitiassegnatiisoldidi_luglio-63710912/.

        2) Official document (on funding allocation) Decree of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, July 25, 2013. Piani di ripartizione dei contributi pubblici ai movimenti e ai partiti politici connessi al rinnovo dell'Assemblea regionale siciliana del 28 ottobre 2012, della Camera dei deputati e dei Consigli regionali del Lazio, della Lombardia e del Molise del 24-25 febbraio 2013, del Friuli-Venezia Giulia del 21-22 aprile 2013 e della Valle d'Aosta del 26 maggio 2013. (13A06527) (GU Serie Generale n.176 del 29-7-2013). Link: http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/do/atto/serie_generale/caricaPdf?cdimg=13A0652700100020110001&dgu=2013-07-29&art.dataPubblicazioneGazzetta=2013-07-29&art.codiceRedazionale=13A06527&art.num=2&art.tiposerie=SG.

        3) Working paper: A Self-interested Legislator? Party Regulation in Italy, by Piccio D. R. (2014), South European Society and Politics, Vol. 19, Nr. 1, pp. 135-152. Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/6Z8A78aJhSPvYiZy5irN/full.

        4) Davide del Monte, Transparency International - Italia. Interviewed on July 22, 2014.

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        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Media access in Italy is governed by law 28/2000. As mentioned in article 1, this law specifically aims to “promote and prescribe equal media access for political communication, in order to guarantee equality of treatment and impartiality with regard to all political subjects”. Free airtime on in public broadcasting services is distributed based on the principle of equality, thus granting all political forces equal airtime in election campaigns.

        Such rules apply to political parties, while no specific regulation is established for individual candidates. Eligibility criteria are regulated in article 4 of the same law and are set as follows. First, the electoral period is divided into two: from the official opening of the electoral campaign to the presentation of candidates' lists; from the presentation of the candidates' list to the closure of the electoral campaign. During the first period, free airtime in public broadcasting services is provided only to those political actors already represented in either one of the two Chambers of the Italian Parliament. During the second period, free airtime in public broadcasting services is provided to all political actors (provided they are running in at least 1/4 of the Italian territory).

        Article 3 ofthe law defines how much free access to airtime is allocated to each party as it follows:

        “The political messages may last between 1 and 3 minutes for TV stations and between 30 and 90 seconds for radio stations. […] A maximum of 2 slots of political messages per day is fixed […]. Parties and/or political movements are not allowed to broadcast more than two messages per day on the same broadcasting unit. […] The assignment of airtime in each slot is made through raffle. Not used airtime assigned to a political actor cannot used by another political actor. Each political message can be broadcasted once per slot."

        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

        Law 28/2000, 'Norms for equality of access to media comunication during election and referendum campaigns, and for political communication. 2000. Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65.

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        75
        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

        The distribution of free access to media advertising is provided in an equitable way. This is what emerged from an ongoing study at the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom of the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). With the purpose of establishing a ‘Media Pluralism Monitor’ in a number of European countries, the Center undertook an analysis of the television-content during the 2013 Italian national political elections looking at whether candidates and parties have equitable opportunity to broadcast their own programming.

        Hence, even though free access to airtime during election campaigns is provided according to the actual rules, the underlying principles of the regulation – transparency and equitability of media access to all political forces – is still undermined due to the way in which the media covered election campaigns, more broadly.

        Indeed, during the latest parliamentary elections held in February 2013, the Authority responsible for the monitoring of the fair and equitable distribution of air time provided to political actors (‘Autorità per le garanzie nelle Comunicazioni’ – Agcom), issued a report stating “[…] the presence of diffuse imbalances concerning the presence of political forces in television news”. That is, though access to broadcasting and advertising slots was provided as mandated by the law, media coverage was biased. This same report recommends the national services on TV and radio to rebalance their coverage in order to “effectively grant equal treatment among all political forces and the balanced representation of all political opinions”. [Because of the imbalances found in providing a coverage to all political forces during the pre-election period this same year, the above mentioned authority later issued a fine of 40,000 euros [54,000 USD] to one of the public channels’ news programmes.]


        Peer reviewer comment: In the first link you may find the tables with the air time provided by different national broadcast services, at the end of 2012 (two months before the parliamentary elections).

        In general terms, on the Italian public television (RAI) the Partito Democratico was the most represented (25% of the total air time), followed by the PdL (17%) and by at the time prime minister Mario Monti (13%); on the contrary Mediaset, the broadcasting services hold by Berlusconi, privileged the party dominated by its owner (28%), while the PD was allocated the 22% of the air time and Monti the 8,1%.

        However it seems fruitless to analyze the question of the air time provided to political parties without considering the Italian peculiarity in the relationship between parties and mass-media. At the beginning of the Nineties a new and disruptive anomaly appeared in this specific domain when Silvio Berlusconi, the owner of Fininvest, the major private broadcasting group, and of a number of magazines and newspapers, entered the political scene. Concerns about media pluralism and an evident conflict of interest were raised by the opposition and by part of civil society, that feared Berlusconi’s overwhelming control over communication. A number of studies and researches have been conducted in this domain in the past (as the one cited below), but no significant ones during the period covered by this project.

        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

        1) Official report issued by the independent monitoring authority for communication “Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni” (Agcom). 'Par condicio, richiamo alle emittenti nazionali: riequilibrio immediato della presenza delle forze politiche nei tg'
        Issued on: January 10, 2013. http://www.agcom.it/documents/10179/539967/Comunicato+stampa+10-01-2013/41f24101-de36-4975-a523-410707c500e5?version=1.0.

        2) Official report issued by the independent monitoring authority for communication “Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni” (Agcom). 'Delibera 152.13.CONS. Sanzione alla societa' RAI-RADIOTELEVISIONE ITALIANA S.P.A. per inottemperanza all'ordine impartito con delibera 112/13/CONS (TG3)' Issued on: February 20, 2013. Link: http://www.agcom.it/documents/10179/539985/Delibera+152-13-CONS/00f51520-5412-46ce-b217-65fbc07032bb?version=1.0.

        3) Interview (e-mail): Dr. Andrea Calderaro, Research Fellow at the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, European University Institute (Florence, Italy), 18/07/2014.

        4) News story (I): 'Elezioni 2013, l’Agcom: “Riequilibrare le presenze dei partiti in tv”', by Redazione, Il Fatto Quotidiano, January 10, 2013. Link: http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2013/01/10/elezioni-2013-lagcom-riequilibrare-presenze-dei-partiti-in-tv/466432/

        5) Academic paper: ‘Alla ricerca della Par Condicio’, by Dr. Vera Campanelli, University of Bologna, Marci 03, 2014. Link: https://www.academia.edu/6522882/ALLARICERCADELLAPARCONDICIO.

        Reviewer's sources: Andrea Bassi, "Elections 2013: Bersani snubs the TV," Huffington Post Italy, January 1, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.it/2013/01/07/elezioni-2013-bersani-snobba-le-tv-ma-in-rai-il-pd-e-il-partito-che-parla-di-piun2426359.html

        ibberd M. (2007), Conflicts of interest and media pluralism in Italian broadcasting, In «West European Politics», 30: 4, 881-992;

        Carlo Magnani, “Pluralismo, informazione e radiotelevisione," Editoriale Scientifica, 2014.

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

    More about category
    composite
    51
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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
      More about category
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        9
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        Under the Decree Law No. 201 of 6 December 2011, donations in cash exceeding 1,000 euros [800 USD] are prohibited. This is a general anti-money laundering rule, which applies to the society at large, thus including both political parties and candidates. Under article 12, titled "Reduction of the limit for tracing payments to 1,000 euros and contrast of the use of cash", "Limitations in the use of cash defined by article 49 of Decree law 231/2007, are adjusted to an amount of 1,000 euros".
        The same decree also states that during the electoral campaigning period individual candidates can exclusively raise funds through a bank or post office account.

        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

        Decree Law 201/2011, 'Urgent norms for growth, equality and consolidation of public managment'. 2001. Article 12. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:2011;201

        Decree Law 231/2007, "On the prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering and criminal activities ". 2007. Article 49. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legislativo:2007-11-21;231!vig

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

        Anonymous donations are allowed for donations whose value is less than 5,000 euros [6,760 USD].

        The Italian legislature thus far did not address the recommendation issued by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the Council of Europe in 2012, where GRECO encouraged the introduction of "a general ban on donations from donors whose identity is not known to the political party/candidate".

        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

        No such law exists.

        Group of States against Corruption. Third Evaluation Round. Evaluation Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding (March 2012) http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoEval3(2011)7ItalyTwo_EN.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

        Both political parties and candidates must report in-kind donations.

        According to law 2/1997, political parties are required to report yearly financial accounts for their regular activities to the oversight authority. Article 8(2) of such law states that “the political parties’ financial accounts must be laid down according to the model presented in Appendices A, B and C and must be introduced by a declaration of the party’s legal treasurer”. Appendix A contains the standard form for presenting such statement, and includes the in-kind donations.

        The same rule applies to candidates. Under article 7(6) of law 515/1993 all candidates seeking elections must “analytically report all contributions and services received and expenses incurred”.

        Peer reviewer comment: Agree As reported by GRECO (2012, p. 10) “The legal representative of the party must maintain the daybook and the inventory book. The daybook must show the day-to-day operations carried out […]. The inventory book must be prepared on 31 December of each year, and must display assets and liabilities and state their values. […] Standard forms are provided to present party accounts; the forms include all the items that should be listed in the account, e.g. net assets, State subsidies, private donations (including the name of the donor, whether physical or legal person), costs fo press activities, technical tools/office machines/furniture, loans ecc.”.

        (p. 12) “All candidates seeking election to the national parliament and regional councils, including those who fail to secure election, must present: (i) an election statement of the costs and debts incurred for campaign purposes, which is to be accompanied by an accounting report detailing contributions and services received and expenses incurred. The report […] systematically lists the names of individuals whose donations and services exceeded 20.000 EUR in value, as well as donations and services for any value whatsoever from other sources.

        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

        1) Law 2/1997, ‘Norms for the voluntary contribution to political parties.' 1997. Article 8, Appendix A. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1997;2

        2) Law 515/1993,'Regulation of elecoral campaigns for the elections of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republica.' 1993. Articles 7, 12. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=

        Reviewer's sources: GRECO (2012). Evaluation Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoEval3(2011)7ItalyTwo_EN.pdf

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

        No regulation exists limiting the total amount of loans, credits, legacies and income from party and fundraising activities that political parties and candidates may receive.

        However, under law 2/1997, political parties are required to submit an annual financial statement in a specific format (art. 8). Here, they must specify all kinds of loans and credits received by political parties, such as “credits for services and premises; credits towards housing agents; credits for electoral contributions; credits for tax contribution income; credits towards companies; other credits” (Appendix A, law 2/1997). This also includes loans, costs for printing activities, technical press activities, technical tools and machinery, office and furniture. Post election reports must require the same information.

        As for candidates, the law does not refer to loans, specifically. However, under article 7(6) of law 515/1993 all candidates seeking elections must “analytically report all contributions and services received and expenses incurred”, thus including loans.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. As reported by GRECO (2012, p. 10) “The legal representative of the party must maintain the daybook and the inventory book. The daybook must show the day-to-day operations carried out […]. The inventory book must be prepared on 31 December of each year, and must display assets and liabilities and state their values. […] Standard forms are provided to present party accounts; the forms include all the items that should be listed in the account, e.g. net assets, State subsidies, private donations (including the name of the donor, whether physical or legal person), costs fo press activities, technical tools/office machines/furniture, loans ecc.”.

        (p. 12) “All candidates seeking election to the national parliament and regional councils, including those who fail to secure election, must present: (i) an election statement of the costs and debts incurred for campaign purposes, which is to be accompanied by an accounting report detailing contributions and services received and expenses incurred. The report […] systematically lists the names of individuals whose donations and services exceeded 20.000 EUR in value, as well as donations and services for any value whatsoever from other sources.

        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

        1) Law 2/1997, ‘Norms for the voluntary contribution to political parties.' 1997. Article 8, Appendix A Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1997;2

        2) Law 515/1993,'Regulation of elecoral campaigns for the elections of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republica.' 1993. Articles 7, 12 Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=

        Reviewer's sources: GRECO (2012). Evaluation Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoEval3(2011)7ItalyTwo_EN.pdf

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
      More about category
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        13
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        New legislation introduced a limit on donations to political parties. This is the first such limit applied in Italy. Under article 7 of law 13/2014, “Physical persons’ donations in favour of a single political party shall not exceed, in cash or with goods or services of any kind or form, [….],a value of 100,000 euros [136,137 USD] yearly.”

        No upper donation limit is established for individual candidates.

        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Until 2014 there were no limits on the amount/size/periodicity of private contributions that could be made to political parties/movements/candidates.

        No financial caps were set to private donations: a joint disclosure declaration was to be made by the donor and the beneficiary for any donation exceeding 2.500 Euros, while the disclosure requirement applied only to the beneficiary in case of donations from abroad. [After the adoption of law 13/2014] public disclosure of the donors is mandatory for every private donation: the amount of money paid by a single individual and/or private company may not exceed the 5% of party total incomes.

        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

        Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding'. 2014. Article 10(7). Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892.

        Reviewer's sources: Pizzimenti, E. (2014), “The Italian Case: Party Collusion, Normative Layering and Lack of Controls”. Paper presented at APSA Conference, Sydney, 28 Sept.-1 Oct. 2014

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

        New legislation introduced a limit on corporate donations to political parties. This is the first such limit applied in Italy. Under article 7 of the law 13/2014, “Legal persons’ donations in favour of a single political party shall not exceed, in cash or with goods or services of any kind or form, [….],a value of 100,000 euros [136,137 USD] yearly.”

        No such ban is established with respect to candidates.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Before the adoption of Law. 13/2014, some restrictions applied to private funding: donations from companies that were publicly held or were more than 20% publicly owned were forbidden (Art. 7, Law 195/1974)

        Any other corporate donation had to be approved by the management body of the relevant legal entity and property entered in the company's financial statements.

        Law 195/1974, "State Contribution to Party Financing," 1974. Article 7. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1974-05-02;195

        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

        Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding'. 2014. Article 10(8). Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892.

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        15
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        No law banning contributions from foreign sources exists. Indeed, under article 4 of the law 659/1981 , “In the case of donations or financing from abroad, only the entity receiving them needs to disclose such information.”

        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

        Law 659/1981, 'Modifications and integrations to law 195/1974 on state financing to political parties.' 1981. Article 4. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1981;659.

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        16
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        Until the adoption of the most recent political finance reform in February 2014, the financial relationship between third party actors and political parties was not regulated. For the first time, law 13/2014 introduced transparency norms. However, no rule has been established limiting maximum amounts or banning contributions from third-party actors to political parties or candidates.

        Thus, the only regulation in force for third party actors is established under article 5 of the law, prescribing the duty of transparency of financial managment of political actors. Under article 5, "Those foundations and political associations whose managing organs are determined partially or entirely by political parties and political movements, and all those foundations and associations disbursing donations or contributing to the financing of initiatives in favour of political parties and political movements, [...] need to respect the principles of transparency and publicity of statutes and financial sheets".

        Trade unions and other non profits are not regulated by Italian law.

        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

        Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding'. 2014. Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892.

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        17
        Score
        YES
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        Election campaign spending in Italy is regulated by law 515/1993 (as amended), for both political parties and candidates.

        As for political parties, article 10 states that "political parties cannot spend more than the amount corresponding to the multiplication of 1,00 euro times the total number of citizens of the Italian Republic who are registered for the election of the Chamber of Deputies and for the elections of the Senate of the Republic" (according to recent calculations, this amounts to 98 million euro per political party, approximately).

        As for candidates, article 7 states that "each candidate cannot spend more than the amount corresponding to the sum of 52,000 euros [70,306 USD] for each electoral district and the multiplication of 0,01 euros for each citizen resident in the electoral district where the candidate is campaigning."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Until 2011 the Italian political finance regime provided for limits on expenditures by political parties and individual candidates exclusively with regard to elections to national parliament and regional councils, while no limits were set on expenditures during European and Municipal Elections. Law No. 96/2012 fixed the maximum amount for the electoral expenditures also for the European Parliament (1 EUR multiplied by the number of persons eligible to vote for the Chamber of Deputies) and Municipal Councils: in this case the maximum amount varies according to the size of the city/town and depending on the post the candidate runs for (whether mayor or city councilman); in addition, political parties are allowed to spend up to a maximum of 1 EUR multiplied by the number of persons eligible to vote for the Town Council.

        Law 96/2012, "Rules on the Reduction of Government Grants," 2012. Articles 13-14. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

        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

        Law 515/1993,'Regulation of elecoral campaigns for the elections of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republica.' 1993. Articles 7, 10 Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=

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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

        Different political finance rules are established at the sub-national level. As noted by Fabrizio di Mascio, the regulation of political finance at the regional level through public funding of the regional councils (introduced by law 422/1980) was the first legal amendment to the Italian political finance law of 1974.

        Until the political finance reform adopted in February 2014, political parties and lists of candidates running for the elections of the Regional Councils and having obtained at least one elected candidate benefited from public financing for the reimbursement of their election campaign (law 43/1995). Funds used to be disbursed in proportion to the votes received. However, public funding for the election of the regional Councils was abrogated in February 2014 by law 13/2014.

        Still in force are the rules establishing maximum expenditure ceilings, for both political parties and candidates (law 43/1995). For political parties, the ceiling is established based on a formula multiplying a fixed amount (1 euro – 1,339 USD) by the number of persons eligible to vote in the constituencies of both Chamber of Deputies and Senate for which they put forward lists of candidates. For individual candidates, the ceiling is established based on a formula summing a fixed amount (38.802,85 euros – 5.198,110USD) with the product of the multiplication of 0.0061 euros by the number of citizens living in the provincial constituency for which the candidates stand.

        Moreover, political parties and candidates running for elections to the regional Councils are required to provide a statement of election expenses and sources of funding (law 515/1993). Yet, as argued by Maurizio Cerruto (researcher) the most prominent episodes of corruption, patronage, and private use of public funds are to be found at this very regional level. Indeed, since 2013 a series of investigations for illicit use of public funds has involved regional Councils in sixteen out of the twenty Italian regions (Il Fatto Quotidiano, December 14, 2013) revealing how large amounts of public funding to political groups within the Councils, earmarked in principle for covering the political groups’ activities and operating expenses, have been used for private means. Expenditure by political groups within the regional Councils and reporting obligations are not subject of national level legislation, but are regulated by the Councils themselves.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - In a recent study on the regional organization of Italian parties, one of the main outcome of the empirical research on the field in 6 Italian regions with regard to major State-wide parties was the absolute lack of uniformity/transparency in maintaining party inventory books and/or balance sheets certifying financial operations at regional level. Each party regulates this matter on its own, through opaque intra-party organizational dynamics varying from region to region.

        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

        1) Law 515/1993, ‘Norms regulating election campaigns for the elections of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic’. 1993. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=

        2) Law 43/1995, ‘New norms for the election of the regional Councils.' 1995. Link: http://www.interno.gov.it/mininterno/export/sites/default/it/assets/files/5/20040608135048_10-113-232-21.pdf

        3) ‘Spese folli, la grande abbuffata delle Regioni. Indagini in tre su quattro’, Editorial, Il Fatto Quotidiano, December 14, 2013. Link: http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2013/12/14/regioni-indagini-in-tre-su-quattro-e-la-meta-dei-consiglieri-e-indagata/813519/

        4) Dr. Maurizio Cerruto, Researcher, Department of Political Science, University of Calabria. 'La delegittimazione della classe politica regionale'. Istituzioni del Federalismo, 2/2013. Pp. 477-507.

        5) ‘Dall'aragosta al gratta e vinci: tutte le spese del Pirellone’, by Igor Greganti, L’Espresso, March 6, 2014. Link: http://espresso.repubblica.it/palazzo/2014/03/06/news/aragosta-e-gratta-e-vinci-tutte-le-spese-del-pirellone-1.156170

        6) Interview with Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio. Fabrizio di Mascio is researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on 6 August, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Pizzimenti, E. (2014), “The Italian Case: Party Collusion, Normative Layering and Lack of Controls”. Paper presented at APSA Conference, Sydney, 28 Sept.-1 Oct. 2014 Biondi, F. (2012). Il finanziamento pubblico dei partiti politici. Milano: Giuffrè Editore. Pizzimenti E. (2014). “Regole e Finanziamento dei partiti: un'occasione persa?” In Rivista Italinieuropei, n. 3/2014;

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

        Since its introduction in 1974, public funding has constituted the major source of income for political parties and candidates. Indeed, Italy was among the countries in Europe with the highest percentage of dependency on public funding. As Guido Romeo (journalist) argued, “private sources of income are definitely less significant as compared to public ones”.

        However, these times are gone. Indeed, the frequent political finance scandals that have been emerging in the latest years led to a growing attention from the media to political finance issues and to a wave of citizens’ discontent. This determined, as first, the adoption of laws which lowered the amount of public funding (in 2007, 2008, 2012), and, finally, the adoption of a new political finance law (in 2014), which repealed any form of direct public funding to political parties and candidates (including election campaign funding). Under the new legislation, direct public funding will still be disbursed for eligible political parties until 2017. After 2017, however, political parties and candidates will only be able to rely on the voluntary contributions from physical and legal persons and to indirect forms of public funding. This raised the question on how Italian political parties will be able to survive. As reported by Gianluca de Martino (journalist), “most political parties are closing the financial year [of 2013] with a deficit”.

        A recent project developed by Wired.it (#soldiaipartiti – ‘#moneytopoliticalparties’) showed how in 2013, Italian political parties received in total 120,32 millions euros, of which 80,34 million euros was from public funds, and 39,98 million euros was from private contributions. Noticeably, until the 2014 political finance law, no limits on the amount of private contributions that could be made to political parties and candidates existed. This determined the possibility for large private companies and business people to finance political parties, as the case of the political party founded by Mr. Silvio Berlusconi ‘Forza Italia’ proved. Indeed, ‘Forza Italia’ appears as the political party that received the highest amounts of private funding in Italy, receiving from 1992 to 2013, almost double the amount of the second ranking party, the ‘Democratici di Sinistra’.

        All in all, As Guido Romeo (journalist) argued, “the weight of private funding on the total party income very much depends on the political party into consideration. Forza Italia can rely on its main founder (Mr. Silvio Berlusconi); the Partito Democratico received 11,524,200 euros from physical persons and 165,000 euros from legal persons; the Lega Nord very much relies on medium-large donations due to its closer contacts with the electorate; the founders of the ‘Movimento 5 Stelle’ are still unknown”. Indeed, the latter party, which refuses public funding, promotes a practice of ‘self-financing’ and relies totally on private contributions.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - In an academic paper on the evolution of the Italian political finance regime, Eugenio Pizzimenti (Assistant Professor of Political Science) maintains that “Law 515/1993 established new conditions to access to direct funding, which consisted in the reimbursement of campaign expenditure. However the term “reimbursement” was misleading, as public funds far exceeded the amount effectively spent by parties during electoral campaigning. In fact, the total amount of money allocated to parties was calculated by multiplying a fixed quota (which varied depending on the type of elections) for the number of Italian resident citizens – a criterion successively modified with the number of Italian voters registered for the Chamber of Deputies. This mechanism lead to a considerable increase in public funds destined to those political parties and political movements (a new type of collective actor recognized by the law) which were able to pass the 3% election threshold or to elect at least a candidate in a single-member constituency” (2014, p. 11).

        In an empirical study conducted by Eugenio Pizzimenti and Piero Ignazi (2011) on the income of major Italian parties – based on an in-depth analysis of party balance-sheets from 1994 – it is reported that Italian parties depend on public funds for almost 70% of their total income. By aggregating the sources raised automously by each party (membership fees, party manifestations, private contributions, donations etc.), all them show dramatic level of dependence on State funds. This can explain also why Italian parties adopted collusive strategies in voting political finance regimes, through a costant increase of State funds from 1974 to 2006.

        In recent years, as far as public discontent and mistrust toward Italian parties increased, a number of journalistic works (either press articles and books) focused on the “costs of politics” (see the sources below). Most of them tried to quantify the total amount of State funds provided to political parties: however, still Eugenio Pizzimenti noticed that the layered and fragmented Italian political finance regime does not consent to capture the veritable entity of the public funding (direct and indirect) assigned to the parties (Pizzimenti 2012).

        As noted by Pizzimenti (2014, p. 13) “Compared to the past, an opposite tendency seems to be distinctive of this very last phase of the evolution of the Italian political finance regime: from an “expansionary” tendency to continue increases in the amount of public funds, to a contraction process culminated with their abolition. In 2012, Mario Monti's technical government promoted a reform of the funding regime: the L. 96/2012 represented a significant step toward an overall rationalize of the legislation in the field and a first attempt to connect party funding to party regulation. On February the 20nd 2014, the Chamber of Deputies approved the L. 13, which suppressed direct public funding and other kind of direct contributions to political parties”.

        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

        1) Guido Romeo, data journalist and business editor for Wired.it & co-founder of ‘Diritto di Sapere’ (‘Right to Know’ - http://www.dirittodisapere.it/), a civil society organization promoting transparency and free access to information. Among Romeo’s more recent initiatives, the law proposal for the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act in Italy (http://www.foia4italy.it/). Interviewed on 29 July, 2014.

        2) ‘Partiti in profondo rosso, tanti debiti e poca trasparenza’, by Gianluca de Martino, Wired.it, 1 July 2014. Link: http://www.wired.it/attualita/politica/2014/07/01/partiti-debiti/

        3) #Soldiaipartiti, Wired.it. Accessed July 2014. Link: http://blog.wired.it/soldiaipartiti/infografica/

        Reviewer's sources: Pizzimenti, E. (2012). Chi deve pagare i partiti? Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana - Treccani, pp. 314-317; Pizzimenti E. and Ignazi, P. (2011). “Finanziamento pubblico e mutamenti organizzativi nei partiti italiani”. In Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, Anno XLI, n. 2, pp. 199-235; Pizzimenti, E. (2014), “The Italian Case: Party Collusion, Normative Layering and Lack of Controls”. Paper presented at APSA Conference, Sydney, 28 Sept.-1 Oct. 2014

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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

        Until the adoption of the new political finance law in February 2014 no maximum ceilings were established for private donations to political parties and candidates. This determined the private funding of political parties by large companies and business people, the most evident case being the one of the former Prime Minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi. Under the new law instead, for the first time a donation ceiling (of 10,000 euros - 13,364 USD) was established. Consequently, violations of contribution limits have not taken place yet.

        There are no documented instances of violations in relation to expenditure limits and in the period from January 2013 until July 2014. However, several instances of violations of political finance regulations have taken place, and specifically in relation to illicit sources of financing of political parties and/or candidates. For example, the former Minister of Economic Affairs is under investigation for illicit financing from a private company, allegedly for having received economic favours in return for giving the company preferential treament. Or, the former mayor of Florence is currently under investigation for having received 560,000 euros (748,390 USD) from a semi-public agency for financing his election campaign in exchange, once again, for returns in public management. Similar accusations of illicit private funding and corruption have been levied against the former mayor of Rome.

        According to Davide del Monte (Transparency International – Italia), opinion polls show how political parties are considered the most corrupt institutions by Italian citizens. And indeed, rather than learning from the past, they have replicated mistakes and multiplied opportunities for illicit financial behaviour and corruption.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - As reported by GRECO (2012, p. 22) “from 1997 to 2009, 91 political parties have been found in an irregular position as regards their annual financial statements. Only 6 of them, however, have actually suffered the effects of the sanction of suspension of electoral reimbursements because they were still beneficiary of them […]. Because of that sanction, such parties may not receive the relevant reimbursements until full regularisation of their financial reports.

        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

        1) Davide del Monte (Transparency International – ITALIA). Interviewed on July 23, 2014.

        2) ‘Casa in affitto con Milanese, Tremonti patteggia quattro mesi di reclusione’. Il Fatto Quotidiano, April 10 2014. Link: http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2014/04/10/casa-in-affitto-con-milanese-tremonti-patteggia-quattro-mesi-di-reclusione/947667/

        3) ‘Finanziamento illecito, Alemanno rischia il processo: “Fatture per falso sondaggio’. Il Fatto Quotidiano, May 12, 2014. Link: http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2014/04/10/casa-in-affitto-con-milanese-tremonti-patteggia-quattro-mesi-di-reclusione/947667/

        4) ‘Mose, Orsoni concorda patteggiamento a 4 mesi: “Non mi dimetto”’, Il Fatto Quotidiano, June 12, 2014. Link: http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2014/06/12/mose-orsoni-concorda-patteggiamento-a-4-mesi-scarcerato-dal-gip/1024381/.

        Reviewer's sources: GRECO (2012). Evaluation Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoEval3(2011)7ItalyTwo_EN.pdf

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    41
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        21
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Both political parties and candidates must report itemized financial information (income and expenditures). However, only political parties are required to submit their reports outside of electoral campaigns.

        Indeed, political parties, under law 2/1997, are required to report yearly financial accounts for their regular activities to the oversight authority. Article 8(2) of the law states that “the political parties’ financial accounts must be laid down according to the model presented in Appendices A, B and C and must be introduced by a declaration of the party’s legal treasurer”. Appendix A contains the standard form for presenting such statement, and includes the items that should be listed in the accounts. After elections have taken place, under article 12 of law 515/1993, “the representatives of those political parties running for the election of the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate of the Republic must present the balance sheet including expenses incurred during the election campaigns as well as the sources of income”.

        As for candidates, under article 7(6) of law 515/1993 all candidates seeking elections must “analytically report all contributions and services received and expenses incurred”. This rule only applies after official campaign periods.

        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

        1) Law 2/1997, ‘Norms for the voluntary contribution to political parties.' 1997. Articles: 8 and appendices A, B and C Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1997;2

        2) Law 515/1993,'Regulation of elecoral campaigns for the elections of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republica.' 1993. Articles 7, 12. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=

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        22
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        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

        The official campaign period starts 30 days before elections take place, and ends the day before.

        Under article 12 of law 515/1993, political parties running for national parliamentary elections are required to submit their financial accounts, including expenses and sources of income in relation to election campaigns just once, and namely "within forty-five days after the inauguration of the two Chambers of parliament." This means that parties submit 1 report per 30 day election period.

        As for candidates, under article 7(6) of law 515/1993, all candidates seeking election to the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate of the Republic need to report a “balance sheet in relation to all contributions received and expenses incurred”. Three months after the election, moreover, under article 2 of law 441/1982, candidates need to submit a declaration about all premises, goods and services owned, with a copy of their latest income tax.

        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

        1) Law 515/1993, 'Regulation of election campaigns for the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic'. 1993. Articles 7, 12 Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=

        2) Law 441/1982, ‘Norms for the publicity of the financial situation of elected officers and directors of agencies.' 1982. Article 2. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1982;441

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

        Law 96/2012 requires political parties to report yearly financial accounts for their regular activities to the oversight authority. Under art. 9(4), “By June 15 of each year, the legal representatives or the treasurers of political parties and political movements, who have obtained at least 2 per cent of the votes in the most recent elections of the Chamber of Deputies or who have at least 1 MP elected either at the Chamber of Deputies or at the Senate of the Republic, at the European Parliament or at a regional Council” […] “are required to submit to the Commission the financial accounts and the respective attachments specified by article 8 of law 2/1997”. Law 2/1997 specifies the standard form for presenting such statement, and includes the items that should be listed in the accounts (art. 8(2) and Appendix A).

        As for candidates, under article 7(6) of law 515/1993 they must “report all contributions and services received and expenses incurred in their election expenses” just one time, after the political elections have taken place.

        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

        1) Law 96/2012, 'Norms concerning the reduction of public subsidies to political parties and political movements, and concening measures to grant transparency and control of their financial accounts'. 2012. Article 9. http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

        2) Law 2/1997, 'Norms for the regulation of voluntary contributions to political movements or political parties'. 1997. Article 8 and appendices A, B, C. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1997;2

        3) Law 515/1993, 'Regulation of election campaigns for the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic'. 1993. Article 7. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=

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

        Candidates are legally required to report monthly during the campaign season. In practice, they do so. Parties are also legally required to submit post election reports. Reports from the most recent elections are not currently available, and will not be made thus until 2015, according to the Transparency Commission. However, according to the available information from the 2008 national level elections, parties do not, in practice, report on itemized contributions and expenditures. Such reports themselves are not publicly available, but the monitoring agencies' comments on those reports indicate a lack of itemization.

        As Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio (researcher) argued, items of income and spending were lumped together and were very difficult to distinguish one from the other.

        It's important to note, however, that non-itemized reports were compatible with the law in 2008. In the future, including with the upcoming reports for the most recent elections, a higher level of detail will be required. In sum, to date, reports may, in practice, be filed, but they are not itemized and do not contain detailed information on contributions and expenditures.

        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

        1) Interview with Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio. Fabrizio di Mascio is researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on August 6, 2014.

        2) Report to the President on the Final Expenditure and Finances During Elections to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate on April 13-14, 2008. Published by the Court of Auditors, the Board of Control of Expenditures, September 2009. http://www.corteconti.it/export/sites/portalecdc/documenti/controllo/controllospeseelettorali/deliberacse92009.pdf

        3) Financial report of Gian Luca Galleti, Candidate to the Chamber of Deputies, February 2013. http://www.minambiente.it/sites/default/files/archivioimmagini/Galletti/Gallettitrasparenza/1%29%20Dichiarazione%20spese%20elettorali%20consegnate%20a%20Collegio%20regionale%20di%20garanzia%20%28CA%20-%20BO%29.pdf

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        25
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        From 2014 onwards political parties must publish on their website their annual financial reports for the preceding year. The financial reports for 2013 include a detailed list of all contributions received and expenses incurred and the relative amounts. This also includes in-kind contributions, such as office spaces, furniture, printing material, cleaning, insurances, collaborations and consultancies, and administrative costs, etc..

        As for the private contributions received, political parties are requested to publish the names of the persons whose donation exceeds 5,000 euros [6,686 USD]. Hence, financial reports contain a list of names of the donors (name and surname). However, no further personal identifier is provided.

        All in all, the financial reports of political parties are now quite detailed. However, this was not the case until the previous year. Indeed, as Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio (reseacher) argued, items of income and spending were lumped together and were very difficult to distinguish one from the other.

        As for candidates, their reports are available for consultation at the relevant controlling authorities. As shown by the candidate reports collected for the most recent parliamentary elections in Italy, they contain a partially itemized list of all contributions, but no personal identifiers.

        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

        1) Partito Democratico. Rendiconto per l’esercizio chiuso al 12.2013.
        Link: http://www.partitodemocratico.it/doc/269403/bilancio2013.htm

        2) Forza Italia. Rendiconto di Esercizio 2013. Link: http://www.forzaitalia.it/notizie/11223/Rendicontodellesercizio_2013.

        3) Interview with Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio. Fabrizio di Mascio is researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on August 6, 2014.

        4) Financial report of Gian Luca Galleti, Candidate to the Chamber of Deputies, February 2013. http://www.minambiente.it/sites/default/files/archivioimmagini/Galletti/Gallettitrasparenza/1%29%20Dichiarazione%20spese%20elettorali%20consegnate%20a%20Collegio%20regionale%20di%20garanzia%20%28CA%20-%20BO%29.pdf

        5) Financial report of Riccardo Necini, Senatorial Candidate, February 2013. http://www.mit.gov.it/mit/mopall.php?pid=19589

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

        By law, financial information must be available to the public both from political parties and candidates. Financial information from political parties is accessible to the public after the parties themselves publish it on their website: under law 13/2014, "Within July 15 of each year, political parties must publish on their websites their statutes, [...], and their financial accounts with a declaration by an external accountant [...]".

        This same law prescribes the parties’ financial reports to be published (also) on the website of the Chamber of Deputies. As for candidates, under article 7(6) of law 515/1993, candidates need to report a “three months after their election”, [...] "a balance sheet in relation to all contributions received and expenses incurred”. Such information, under article 14 of the same law, "are freely accessible within 120 days after elections have taken place at the 'Collegio regionale di garanzia elettorale'". They are, therefore, not published online.

        The recently established law decree 33/2013 prescribes online publication of the financial reports only for Ministers, members of the regional and local level councils.

        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

        Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding.' 2014. Article 5. Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892.

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

        Under law 96/2012, from July 15, 2014 onwards, political parties are required to publish on their websites their financial balance sheets for their previous accounting year. This indeed happened, thus providing for the first time the opportunity for citizens to access political finance information easily and in a timely manner. The information is therefore easily accessible online, although it is not provided in a machine readable format and cannot therefore be processed directly.

        This is a substantial novelty. Until very recently in fact, as a member of the civil society organization ‘Forme della Politica’ reported, “accessing political finance information was extremely difficult. It is difficult to know how to access official data due to the lack of information. Obviously" – he added – "this is done in order to avoid the creation of an objective method which shows where political actors get their money from and how they actually use it”.

        This same opinion is shared by journalists and political finance analysts. Sergio Rizzo, a journalist of the newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera’ who has covered extensively political finance news, argued in an interview to ‘Report’ (May 19, 2013) how, "political finance information is difficult to access, and it has often been asked to political parties to make this information on-line. But there has always been a strong opposition from politicians, who raised the problem of privacy". Carmine Gazzanni (journalist) says that, "it is very complicated to get to know information concerning the donations that political parties received for their election campaigns, and the amounts thereof. It is impossible, instead, to know the actual names of the donors".

        Moreover, if political finance information of political parties can now be easily obtained, political finance information of the individual candidates is still more difficult to access. Indeed, according to law 515/1993, in order to access to the declaration of the candidates’ income and expenditure in relation to their election campaigns citizens should go at the offices of the Regional Electoral Guarantee Board. According to the law, they are able to do so within 120 days after the elections have taken place.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Party finacial reports are published yearly, since 1997, on the Official Bulletin of the Italian Republic, online and on paper. Although the standard form changed in 1997 and the new one is less detailed than the previous, it seems uncorrect to maintain that it is difficult to distinguish income and spending. A standard form is structured as it follows: Balance Sheet (Intangible Assets, Tangible Assets, Financial Assets, Liquid Assets; Other Financial Activities; Net Asset; Risk Capital and relative items); Profit and loss account (and relative items).

        In the link below you can access the 2011 party balances, published in October 2012.

        Individual candidate reports are not available on line. However, the standard forms of the election statement and the accounting report are available on the websites of the Regional Electoral Guarantee Boards (see the link below for an example). In general these forms are not very analytic and consist in a list of the income/expenses of the candidate.

        In an interview with the Administrative Director of the Regional Electoral Guarantee Board of Sicily, Dott. Gibbardo Vittorio, he maintains that all the documentation is filed in the records office of the organ and is accessible to the public once it has been examined by the board and a public notice has been published. In general, less than half of the candidates present detailed accounting reports, especially for parliamentary elections: this can be explained considering that the fixed party lists set by the Italian electoral law disadvantage those candidates who are not ranked in the first positions and, thus, have few incentives to spend money for campaigning.

        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

        1) Interview with Alberto Catellani, co-founder of ‘Le Forme della Politica’ - http://www.leformedellapolitica.it/ Interviewed on 21 July, 2014.

        2) News story: 'Soldi privati ai partiti: qualche dato e qualche regola in più, per favore.' By Riccardo Viriglio, Centro Einaudi, June 23, 2013. Link: http://www.centroeinaudi.it/agenda-liberale/articoli/3497-soldi-privati-ai-partiti-qualche-dato-e-qualche-regola-in-pi%C3%B9,-per-favore.html.

        3) News story: 'Il transatlantico delle nebbie', by Report, May 19, 2013. Link: http://www.report.rai.it/dl/Report/puntata/ContentItem-2500bb8a-777e-42d0-b23c-fb3e0fe43c4e.html.

        4) News story: 'Le spese dei partiti in campagna elettorale: Pd, Pdl e Monti ridicoli. Chi ha pagato il tour di Grillo?', by Carmine Gazzanni (journalist), Infiltrato.it, March 11, 2013. Link: http://www.infiltrato.it/inchieste/italia/le-spese-dei-partiti-in-campagna-elettorale-pd-pdl-e-monti-ridicoli-chi-ha-pagato-il-tour-di-grillo.

        Reviewer's sources: Official Gazette, Party Balances (2012): http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/atto/serie_generale/caricaDettaglioAtto/originario?atto.dataPubblicazioneGazzetta=2012-10-23&atto.codiceRedazionale=12A11117&elenco30giorni=false

        Regional Electoral Guarantee Boards, Candidate Reporting Forms, http://www.giustizia.palermo.it/ufficigiudiziari/collegio_elettorale.aspx

        Interview with the Administrative Director of the Regional Electoral Guarantee Board of Sicily, Dott. Vittorio Gibbardo (18/09/2014)

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        28
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        25
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        Despite the fact that political parties are required by law to submit annual financial statements in a standardized format to the monitoring authorities, the opinion of experts, civil society organizations and common citizens is that standards differ, making political finance information of different political actors in practice incomparable one to the other.

        Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio (researcher) argued that “there is no standard format and it is truly complex to understand political finance figures. The situation is worsened by the fact that local level party branches are not required to publish their financial reports. As a consequence, it is unclear how money has been raised at the local level.

        As reported by Alberto Catellani (co-founder of ‘Le Forme della Politica’, an Italian civil society organization), “the accounting systems vary; there is no uniform standard, which makes comparisons across different political actors prohibitive”. Also Guido Romeo (data journalist) who contributed to a study on the political parties' sources of income (#Soldiaipartiti) referred to the lack of a uniform standards as one of the main problems in presenting political finance data. Following a recent political finance reform, political parties are required to publish financial information online from 2014 onwards. Financial accounts are detailed both in relation to income and expenditure and are presented in a .pdf format.

        As for individual candidates running for national level political elections, they are required to disclose detailed financial information both in relation to their sources of income and to their expenses to the relevant authorities. They are, however, not required to publish it online.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In an interview with the Administrative Director of the Regional Electoral Guarantee Board of Sicily, Dott. Gibbardo Vittorio, he maintains that all the documentation is filed in the records office of the organ and is accessible to the public once it has been examined by the board and a public notice has been published. In general, less than half of the candidates present detailed accounting reports, especially for parliamentary elections: this can be explained considering that the fixed party lists set by the Italian electoral law disadvantage those candidates who are not ranked in the first positions and, thus, have few incentives to spend money for campaigning.

        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

        1) Interview with Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio. Dr. di Mascio is researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on 6 August, 2014.

        2) Interview with Alberto Catellani, co-founder of ‘Le Forme della Politica’ - http://www.leformedellapolitica.it/ Interviewed on 21 July, 2014.

        3) Interview with Guido Romeo. Guido Romeo is data journalist and business editor for Wired.it and co-founder of ‘Diritto Di Sapere’ (‘Right to Know’ - http://www.dirittodisapere.it/), a civil society organization promoting transparency and free access to information. Among Romeo’s more recent initiatives, the launch, together with others, of Foia4Italy (http://www.foia4italy.it/), a civil society coalition advocating the adoption of the first Freedom of Information Act in Italy. Interviewed on 29 July, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with the Administrative Director of the Regional Electoral Guarantee Board of Sicily, Dott. Vittorio Gibbardo (18/09/2014)

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

        Official political finance data has not often been used by mainstream media outlets. The largest outlets tend to report political finance information without providing citizens the original and official sources. As Davide del Monte (Transparency International Italia) mentioned, “political finance has been widely discussed in the media, especially as the consequence of the numerous political finance scandals that involved all major political parties and political groups in the regional Councils. However, no sufficient coverage has been provided to the official data”.

        This statement also finds confirmation in the Transparency International Report on the Italian political parties’ transparency: “In terms of transparency, […] the information published in the media is very little” (p.12).

        However, Guido Romeo (journalist) mentioned how in the period between January 2013 to July 2014, which characterized by a high attention from the media to political finance issues as the consequence of numerous political finance scandals, two media outlets, Il Fatto Quotidiano and La Repubblica, have been publishing official financial information as part of their reporting. Both newspapers have provided links to the official documents on the private contributions received by political parties. Additionally, as reported by another interview source (member of ‘Le Forme della Politica’, an Italian civil society organization), official sources have also been provided in television news programmes (Ballaro’ – RAI3, Sky24, and TG-La7).

        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

        1) News story: 'Soldi privati ai partiti, le cifre: dai 100mila euro di Bondi ai 700mila di Mrs Buitoni', by Mr. Carlo Tecce, Il Fatto Quotidiano, May 2, 2013 Link: http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2013/05/02/finanziamenti-privati-ai-partiti-nomi-e-cifre-dai-100mila-euro-di-bondi-ai-700mila/580502/.

        2) News story: ‘Soldi ai partiti: in 21 anni da aziende e privati 1,5 miliardi di euro. A Forza Italia le somme più alte’, by Michela Scacchioli, La Repubblica, April 1, 2014. Link: http://www.repubblica.it/speciali/politica/data-journalism/2014/04/01/news/soldiaipartitidal1992aoggidaaziendeeprivati15miliardidi_euro-79778601/?ref=search.

        3) Interview with Guido Romeo. Guido Romeo is data journalist and business editor for Wired.it and co-founder of ‘Diritto Di Sapere’ (‘Right to Know’ - http://www.dirittodisapere.it/), a civil society organization promoting transparency and free access to information. Among Romeo’s more recent initiatives, the launch, together with others, of Foia4Italy (http://www.foia4italy.it/), a civil society coalition advocating the adoption of the first Freedom of Information Act in Italy. Interviewed on 29 July, 2014.

        4) Interview with Davide del Monte. Transparency International Italia. July 23, 2014

        5) Interview with Alberto Catellani, co-founder of ‘Le Forme della Politica’ - http://www.leformedellapolitica.it/ Interviewed on 21 July, 2014.

        6) Transparency International ITALIA (2013). Partiti politici. Trasparenza e Democrazia. ENIS – European National Integrity Systems. Link: http://issuu.com/nisitalia/docs/invito_racc

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        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

        News reporting incidents of violations of political finance laws have appeared very frequently in the media. Davide del Monte (Transparency International – Italia) referred to violation of political finance rules involving all major political groups in the regional Councils. Cases of violations also involved national level politicians. In February 2013, for example, the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the main right-wing coalition (PDL) was under investigation for corruption and illicit financing of political parties.

        Additionally, several analysts and experts have observed how political actors profit from the incomes of third-party actors, as a way to (legally) circumvent existing political finance laws. Indeed, political foundations in Italy are convenient instruments for political parties and individual party candidates for legalizing money obtained from publicly owned enterprises or large corporate sponsors. According to Filippo Barone (journalist), political foundations are comparable to fiscal paradises.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In the last 2 years, episodes of unappropriate use of public funds have been denounced for elections and political corruption, in particular at the sub-national level: from Northern to Southern regions, politicians from almost all major parties have been involved in judicial inquiries. Scandals involved, among others, the former governor of Lazio Region (R. Polverini, PdL), the former governor of Abruzzo Region (Chiodi, PdL), the former mayor of Rome (G. Alemanno, PdL) and the mayor of Venice (Orsoni, PD).

        "Campaign with Public Money," Abruzzo 24, April 26, 2014. http://www.abruzzo24ore.tv/news/Pezzopane-Chiodi-fa-campagna-elettorale-con-i-soldi-pubblici/138034.htm

        "Public Money for the Election Campaign," Cobas Pisa, February 15, 2014. http://www.cobaspisa.it/soldi-pubblici-per-la-campagna-elettorale/

        "Election Campaign Paid for by Citizens," Reggio Report, March 21, 2014. http://www.reggioreport.it/2014/03/la-giunta-fa-campagna-elettorale-assemblee-e-brochure-pagate-dai-cittadini/

        "Illegal Financing of Polverini," La Roma Repubblica, February 21, 2014. http://roma.repubblica.it/cronaca/2014/02/21/news/finanziamentiillecitiaipartitiindagatialemannoe_polverini-79233402/

        "Illicit Party Financing," Info Oggi, September 17, 2014. http://www.infooggi.it/articolo/finanziamento-illecito-ai-partiti-la-via-crucis-di-mazzarano/70670/

        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

        1) Davide del Monte. Transparency International – Italia. Interviewed on July 23, 2014.

        2) Berlusconi indagato per corruzione e finanziamento illecito dei partiti, l’Adige.it, February 25, 2013. Link: http://www.ladige.it/articoli/2013/02/28/berlusconi-indagato-corruzione-finanziamento-illecito-partiti

        3) ‘Dalla Finocchiaro ad Alemanno, ecco le fondazioni politiche’, Franco Fracassi, May 23, 2013 Link: http://popoff.globalist.it/DetailNewsDisplay?ID=75361.

        4) Interview with Guido Romeo, data journalist and business editor for Wired.it & co-founder of ‘Diritto di Sapere’ (‘Right to Know’ - http://www.dirittodisapere.it/), a civil society organization promoting transparency and free access to information. Among Romeo’s more recent initiatives, the law proposal for the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act in Italy (http://www.foia4italy.it/). Interviewed on 29 July, 2014.

        5) 'Il paradiso fiscale delle fondazioni politiche', by Filippo Barone (journalist), August 13, 2013. Link: http://www.roccocipriano.it/wordpress/2013/08/13/passaparola-il-paradiso-fiscale-delle-fondazioni-politiche/.

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

        Vote buying is a frequent illegal practice in Italy. During the 2013 national political elections, as reported by Roberto Saviano, vote buying was a common way by which politicians bought citizens’ votes in exchange of money, goods or favours. Consequently, several news stories have covered vote buying incidents.

        As a member of the civil society organization ‘Forme della Politica’ reported that several instances of vote buying emerged: members of a mafia clan were arrested in July 2014; a local level politician of the Partito Democratico is under investigation for vote buying practices for the region Emilia Romagna; and at the national level even the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is under investigation for having bought the votes of an MP.

        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

        1) 'Quel voto di scambio che uccide la democrazia,' La Repubblica, February 11, 2013. Link: http://www.repubblica.it/politica/2013/02/11/news/savianovotodi_scambio-52375359/

        2) ‘Voto di scambio e rapporti con i clan casalesi, arrestati Scialdone e Fusco. Assunzioni al Conocorso Rifiuti in cambio di voti per la sorella’, Paese News, July 22, 2014. Link: http://www.paesenews.it/?p=43650

        3) ‘Maria Tindara Gullo, deputata Pd rinviata al giudizio insieme ad altre 92 persone’, Il Fatto Quotidiano, June 5, 2014. Link: http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/tag/voto-di-scambio/

        4) Interview with Alberto Catellani, co-founder of ‘Le Forme della Politica’ - http://www.leformedellapolitica.it/ Interviewed on 21 July, 2014.

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        50
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        Three civil society organizations in Italy used officially published financial information (Transparency International Italia, Fondazione Etica, and Openpolis). Noticeably however, the data used by TI and Fondazione Etica in their most recent publications (2013) or on their websites are outdated, as they both refer to the official report issued by the Court of Auditors in relation to the control of electoral expenses in 2009. Particular attention to the 2009 report by the Court of Auditors was provided because it was the first time that a political finance monitoring authority published an overview of the amount of public funding that political parties had received from 1994 to 2008, pointing to various inadequacies of the legal framework. Arguably, this may be the consequence of the fact that officially published political finance data are not easily available and are not published in a timely manner.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Openpolis is an independent association founded in 2006 and jointly owned by hundreds of people, develops and implements projects to enable free access to public information on political candidates, elected representatives, and legislative activity thus promoting transparency and the democratic participation of Italian citizens. The information is originally made up of public data extracted from Italian government websites, a wealth of information available for free to everybody, citizens and the media, supporting a diverse number of activities from parliamentary monitoring to data-driven journalism. Openpolis has rapidly turned into a civic observatory on Italian politics, daily analyzing the complex mechanisms that form Italy’s present and future, allowing experts and ordinary people to shape their own view.

        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

        1) Paola Caporossi (ed) (2013). La riforma dei partiti in Italia. Perche’ conviene una legge sui partiti. Fondazione Etica: Rome.

        2) Transparency International - Italia (2013) Partiti Politici – Trasparenza e Democrazia. Transparency International Italia: Milan. Link: http://www.transparency.it/partiti-politici/

        3) Davide del Monte. Transparency International – Italia. Interviewed on July 23, 2014.

        4) Alberto Catellani, co-founder of Forme della Politica. Interviewed on July 21, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Openpolis website, http://www.openpolis.it/, accessed September 2014.

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

        The political finance regime in Italy experienced numerous and radical transformations in the last 10 years. Only in the 2000s, four laws were passed reforming the political finance regime. Two first laws (law 156/2002 and law 51/2006) substantially increased the amount of public funding available for election campaign reimbursement; two subsequent laws (law 44/2007 and law 122/2010), instead reduced it. Other two laws were subsequently adopted, in 2012 and 2014. In 2012 (law 96/2012), state contributions were further reduced and introduced a new regime of funding.

        The most recent reform in relation to political finance took place in December 2013, and was approved by law 13/2014. The new law repealed any form of direct funding to political parties, from 2017. Hence, from 2017 onwards, political parties will only be financed from forms of indirect state funding and from private contributions from physical and legal persons. A further novelty of the most recently introduced political finance legal reform is the introduction of an internal democracy principle, which has become a precondition for political parties in order to benefit from the (indirect) financial benefits from the state.

        All these changes took place in a climate of economic and political instability and growing mistrust towards political parties, fuelled by the emergence of widespread corruption scandals both at the national and the regional level. Moreover, a new powerful electoral competitor had entered the political arena. ‘The Five Star Movement’ led by the comedian Beppe Grillo started a vigorous campaign for the repeal of public funding to political parties, gaining increasing consensus among the Italian population. Finally, international pressures played an important role as well, as in 2012 the Council of Europe issued a very critical report on transparency and party funding in Italy, urging Italian authorities to implement extensive reforms in the legal framework for political finance. Urgent measures had to be adopted to respond to this plurality of factors, and this time political parties seemed to recognise this.

        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

        1) Piccio, D. R. (2014). "A Self-Interested Legislator? Party Regulation in Italy (1948-2012). South European Society and Politics, Nr. 19, Vol. 1, pp. 135-152.

        2) F. Di Mascio (2013). "La Regolazione Pubblica dei Partiti in Italia. Stato dell’arte e prospettive di riforma". Rapporto di Ricerca per Fondazione Etica, pp. 1-111.

        3)Interview with Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio. Fabrizio di Mascio is researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on August 6, 2014.

        4) News story: "La truffa del finanziamento pubblico ai partiti", by Roberto Perotti, LaVoce.info, 14/12/2013. Link: http://www.lavoce.info/il-finanziamento-pubblico-ai-partiti-non-e-stato-abolito/.

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    Third Party Actors

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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
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        MODERATE
        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, defined as political associations and foundations, are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns of political parties, including potential independent expenditures made during campaigns. Additionally, they are required to publish this information on their own website.

        These rules have been established only recently, by the political finance reform introduced in February 2014. Under article 5 of the law, political foundations and associations are subject to the same rules as political parties. This implies "transparency and public access to information concerning their internal functioning, balance sheets, also through the realization of an internet website respecting the principles of high accessibility, comprehensiveness, clarity, reliability, ease of access, quality, and homogeneity".

        However, trade unions are not obliged to present a consolidated balance sheet, nor are non profit organizations. As such, only some third party actors are required to report to the electoral authority.

        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

        Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding." 2014. Articles 5, 6. Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892

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

        Legislation regulating third party actors in Italy is very recent. Until February 2014 (Law 13/2014), political foundations and think tanks were not required to report itemized contributions received or expenditures to an oversight authority. Whether the new legislation – which prescribes transparency and public access to the third parties’ balance sheets also by means of the realization of accessible, clear and transparent internet website (as established in article 5 of the law), will be effective, is still unknown.

        Before this law entered into force, political foundations became highly debated in the media as well as in the Italian parliament. Guido Romeo, data journalist and business editor for Wired.it & co-founder of ‘Diritto di Sapere’ argued how “the economic relationship between political foundations and political parties is extremely opaque”. Indeed, while the private funding to political parties and candidates is subject to qualitative restrictions (for example, large donations from partially state-owned companies are not allowed), the same does not apply to political foundations. This implies that foundations and think tanks linked to political parties may support political parties from that very same money, which turns into a potential corrupt exchange.

        According to the MP Sergio Boccadutri (Sinistra, Ecologia e Liberta’) political foundations are “typically used by political actors as an instrument to circumvent legislation on private funding to political parties” (September 24, 2013).

        The situation is worsened by the lack of transparency rules on the financial management of think tanks and foundations. As reported by Filippo Barone (journalist), “political foundations [used to be] comparable to fiscal paradises, as the decision on whether to report or not their balance sheets was up to the foundations themselves”.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The discipline of political foundations and their financial reporting is highly controversial. Many political observers as well as political movements like the Movimento 5 Stelle have raised questions about their transparency in terms of financial management and their relationship with political parties. In the opinion of Massimo Teodori, professory of History and former politician, the political foundations survive thanks to a disguised public funding regime set for non profit associations (see the link below).

        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

        1) Interview with Guido Romeo, data journalist and business editor for Wired.it & co-founder of ‘Diritto di Sapere’ (‘Right to Know’ - http://www.dirittodisapere.it/), a civil society organization promoting transparency and free access to information. Among Romeo’s more recent initiatives, the law proposal for the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act in Italy (http://www.foia4italy.it/). Interviewed on 29 July, 2014.

        2) Press agency, ‘Political parties, SEL: financing political foundations should be prohibited’, Public Policy, September 24, 2013. Link: http://www.publicpolicy.it/partiti-sel-escludere-da-finanziamenti-le-fondazioni-politiche-focus-19175.html.

        3) 'Il paradiso fiscale delle fondazioni politiche', by Filippo Barone (journalist), August 13, 2013. Link: http://www.roccocipriano.it/wordpress/2013/08/13/passaparola-il-paradiso-fiscale-delle-fondazioni-politiche/.

        Reviewer's sources: "Public Funding Masked by the Political Foundations," Corriera Della Serra, February 12, 2014. http://archiviostorico.corriere.it/2014/febbraio/12/FinanziamentopubblicomascheratoperFondazionico020140212d3485fc8-93b1-11e3-834b-519aa1e9180d.shtml

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

        Until February 2014 (Law 13/2014), political foundations and think tanks were not required to report itemized contributions received or expenditures to an oversight authority. As reported by Filippo Barone (journalist), “the decision on whether to report or not their balance sheets was up to the third party actors themselves”. The new legislation instead prescribes transparency and public access to the third parties’ balance sheets also by means of the realization of accessible, clear and transparent internet website.

        Whether the transparency requirements introduced by the new law will be effective is still to be seen. To be sure, however, until now accessing financial information, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates was almost impossible. As reported by Davide del Monte (Transparency International Italia), “the way in which political foundations manage their financial resources and their relationship with political parties weakens the overall transparency of the system”. Indeed, the most frequent criticism with respect to these political foundations, raised by journalisst as well as from some of the Italian political parties (such as the ‘Five Star Movement’ and ‘Sinistra Ecologia e Liberta’’, is that it is unclear where these foundations get their money from. As argued by Guido Romeo, data journalist and business editor for Wired.it & co-founder of ‘Diritto Di Sapere’, “the economic relationship between political foundations and political parties is extremely opaque”.

        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

        1) Interview with Guido Romeo. Guido Romeo is data journalist and business editor for Wired.it and co-founder of ‘Diritto Di Sapere’ (‘Right to Know’ - http://www.dirittodisapere.it/), a civil society organization promoting transparency and free access to information. Among Romeo’s more recent initiatives, the launch, together with others, of Foia4Italy (http://www.foia4italy.it/), a civil society coalition advocating the adoption of the first Freedom of Information Act in Italy. Interviewed on 29 July, 2014.

        2) Interview with Davide del Monte. Transparency International Italia. July 23, 2014

        3) News story: ‘Partiti, SEL: Escludere da finanziamenti le fondazioni politiche’, Public Policy, September 24, 2013. Link: http://www.publicpolicy.it/partiti-sel-escludere-da-finanziamenti-le-fondazioni-politiche-focus-19175.html

        4) News story: ‘Movimento 5 Stelle contro le fondazioni politiche’, Editorial, October 10, 2013. Link: http://www.primadanoi.it/video/543604/M5S-contro-le-Fondazioni-politiche-.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

        Political campaigning in Italy has traditionally centred on political parties. Electoral campaigning undertaken by individuals and/or organizations other than political parties or candidates, such as issue advocacy groups, organizations, and think tanks are very common in Anglophone democracies but used to be unknown in Italian politics until quite recently. Indeed, the presence of third-party actors providing logistical and economic support for or against political parties or individual candidates started emerging only after the early 1990s, as the consequence – as Mattia Diletti, researcher at the Universita’ di Roma ‘La Sapienza’ has argued – of the crisis of the traditional mass parties, the collapse of the party system and the personalization of politics.

        Trade unions used to have strong linkages with party organizations until the early 1990s. However, with the crisis of the traditional mass parties trade unions weakened and lost their representative capacity. Newspaper data and the parties’ financial reports reveal no evidence of financial support from trade unions to parties or candidates emerged during the most recent political elections in 2013. The main types of third party actors that have emerged in Italy are political foundations, policy research institutes and think tanks, which are either linked to political parties or, in the majority of cases, to individual political leaders. Since the early 1990s, there has been a proliferation of such organizations. The functions they perform are to stimulate the political debate, elaborate policy proposals and influence public policies. However, they are often used as instruments for electoral campaigning (and often referred to as ‘ATM machines’ for politicians). Indeed, according to Gaetano Farina (researcher), “fundraising for electoral campaigning is for most political foundations their primary role”.

        Indeed, political foundations are able to raise funds from a plurality of sources and they are not subject to the same restrictions as political parties with regard to the size and origin of donations. According to Diletti (researcher), “these groups are financed by former state monopolies, which still have a very tight link with the political process”. Hence, as reported by several journalists and experts, political foundations in Italy are convenient instruments for political parties and individual party candidates for legalizing money obtained from publicly owned enterprises or large corporate sponsors.

        The situation is worsened by the fact that these associations were not required, until the adoption of the new political finance law in February 2014 to report their balance sheets. As reported by Filippo Barone (journalist), “political foundations [used to be] comparable to fiscal paradises, as the decision on whether to report or not their balance sheets was up to the foundations themselves”. As of 2013, news stories report that only one of those political foundations makes its balance sheets publicly available on the internet.

        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

        1) ‘Non abbiamo una classe dirigente, servono think tank’ (interview to Prof. Mattia Diletti), Enrico Ferrara, Linkiesta, July 7, 2013 Link: http://www.linkiesta.it/think-tank

        2) Gaetano Farina (2013) Soldi per niente? Tutte le forme di finanziamento dei partiti politici. gowhere, Istantanee Vol. 19.

        3) ‘Dalla Finocchiaro ad Alemanno, ecco le fondazioni politiche’, Franco Fracassi, May 23, 2013 Link: http://popoff.globalist.it/DetailNewsDisplay?ID=75361

        4) ‘Partiti SEL: Escludere da finanziamenti le fondazioni politiche’, Public policy, September 24, 2013 Link: http://www.publicpolicy.it/partiti-sel-escludere-da-finanziamenti-le-fondazioni-politiche-focus-19175.html

        5) ‘Chi sostiene l’onorevole? Duccio Facchini, April 29, 2013. Link: http://www.altreconomia.it/site/frcontenutodetail.php?intId=3586

        6) Interview with Guido Romeo. Guido Romeo is data journalist and business editor for Wired.it and co-founder of ‘Diritto Di Sapere’ (‘Right to Know’ - http://www.dirittodisapere.it/), a civil society organization promoting transparency and free access to information. Among Romeo’s more recent initiatives, the launch, together with others, of Foia4Italy (http://www.foia4italy.it/), a civil society coalition advocating the adoption of the first Freedom of Information Act in Italy. Interviewed on 29 July, 2014.

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

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

        A legally independent authority monitoring political finance information was first established by law 96/2012 (art. 9). Under this law, “The Commission for transparency and control of the political parties and movements’ balance sheet is established”. After the new political finance reform of February 2014, the Commission is renamed as “the Commission for the guarantee of the political parties' statutes and for the transparency and the control of their accounts” (law 13/2014, art. 4). The Commission should verify the conformity and regularity of party statutes and balances, in particular the proportionality between party expenditures and party incomes.

        The law also establishes the Commission’s powers: “The Commission controls the regularity and conformity of the political parties’ and movements’ balance sheets, as under law 2/1997 and under the norms established by the current regulation”. Hence, the Commission verifies whether the political parties’ financial statements comply with the law, but no investigation or audit powers are provided to this authority.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The Commission conducts compliance reviews over party balances and statutes.

        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

        1) Law 96/2012, 'Norms on the reduction of public funding to political parties and movements, and dispositions for granting transparency and control of their financial accounts.' 2012. Article 9. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

        2) Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding." 2014. Article 4. Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892

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

        Under law 96/2012, “the Commission is composed of five members, one appointed by the First President of the Court of Cassation, one appointed by the President of the Council of State and three appointed by the President of the Court of Accounts. All Committee members are to be selected from among magistrates belonging to judicial bodies, and all members must be qualified at least to the grade of bench judge in the Court of Cassation or equivalent. The Committee members are to be appointed by joint decisions of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and to be published in the Official Journal” (art. 9 – translation by GRECO, Compliance Report on Italy, June 2014). The law does not mandate a public appointment process.

        In order to ensure the independence of this Commission and avoid conflicts of interests, the 2012 law prescribes that, “The members of the Committee receive no compensation or allowance for their work under the current law. For the duration of their appointment, the Commission’s members cannot carry out other functions. They have a four-year mandate, renewable only once”.

        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

        1) Law 96/2012, 'Norms on the reduction of public funding to political parties and movements, and dispositions for granting transparency and control of their financial accounts.' 2012. Article 9. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

        Secondary source: Group of States against Corruption (2014). 'Compliance Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding'. http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoRC3%282014%299ItalyEN.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 five members of the Commission for transparency and control of the political parties and movements are appointed as follows: one by the First President of the Court of Cassation, one by the President of the Council of State and three appointed by the President of the Court of Accounts. Their formal appointment takes place by joint decision of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. This means that no advertised competition or public vetting process takes place for their appointment. The Commission’s members have to comply with a defined set of qualifications and experiences.

        They must be selected from among magistrates belonging to judicial bodies, and all members must be qualified at least to the grade of bench judge in the Court of Cassation or equivalent. Conflicts of interests are prevented by prohibiting members of the Commission to carry out other functions. As Fabrizio di Mascio (researcher) argued, their nomination by judicial bodies should ensure their professionalism and high merit. It would have been appropriate, nonetheless, to integrate the Commission’s competences with the appointment of other members, such as auditors, members of the Guardia di Finanza, as well as constitutional experts for the control of the political parties’ statutes.

        In practice, it is important to note that the nomination process is assuredly political, as appointees must be approved by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. In this respect, although the qualifications of the current commissioners are unquestionable (they are all magistrates of the highest judicial organs of the state), it is unclear whether they're entirely autonomous from the political sphere. In line with the Italian administrative tradition, Professor Alberto Vanucci, an expert on political corruption in Italy, suggests that the personal and institutional incentives to resist political influence are scarce.

        The current commission is composed of President Bruno Bove, Carlo Piccininni, Bruno Mollica, Simonetta Rosa, and Luigi Galluci.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Note that the all the mentioned commisioners resigned in October 2014 due to a lack of resources.

        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

        1) Allegri, Maria Romana (2014). ‘Democrazia, controllo pubblico e trasparenza dei costi della politica’, Federalismi, n. 9.

        2) Interview. Fabrizio di Mascio is a researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on August 6, 2014.

        3) Interview with official source. Interviewed on August 18, 2014.

        4) Interview with Professor Alberto Vannucci, Department of Political Science, University of Pisa, November 19, 2014.

        Secondary source: Group of States against Corruption. Third Evaluation Round. Compliancy Report on Italy: Transparency of Party Funding (June 2014). http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoRC3%282014%299ItalyEN.pdf

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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

        The Commission has the authority to issue decisions without the need of approval from the executive or the legislature. For example, sanctions are applied to political parties that do not comply with the law directly. Under article 9(10) of law 96/2012, for example, “the Commission applies a pecuniary sanction to those political parties that did not publish their financial accounts on their webpage”.

        The same law states that members of the Commission "have a four-year mandate, renewable only once." The law contains no information on the removal or disciplinary actions with respect to the Commission’s members.

        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

        1) Law 96/2012, 'Norms on the reduction of public funding to political parties and movements, and dispositions for granting transparency and control of their financial accounts.' 2012. Article 9.
        Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

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

        Law 96/2012 prescribes a number of norms favouring the independence and high merit of the members of the oversight authority (the ‘Commission for transparency and control of the political parties and movements’). According to the Commission itself, the Commission is totally independent from government and parliament.

        However, the method of members' appointment raises doubts with respect to the selection process. Indeed, their members are to be selected by joint decisions of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. According to Fabrizio di Mascio (expert and analyst), “this authority is not independent from the political process, because it is selected from the very Presidents of the two Chambers of parliament”.

        This opinion is shared by Maria Romana Allegri, researcher at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza'. She argued how "the relationship between this Commission and the parliament may undermine the independence of the former". As the Commission was established recently and started its activities in January 2013, it seems early to make assessments on how independence is effectively preserved. As reported by the Group of States against Corruption in its Compliance Report on Transparency and Party Funding in Italy, “the efficiency of these measures will have to be tested once the system has been operational for some time”. It is also still uncertain whether the Commission is protected from arbitrary removal or disciplinary action without observing due process. Moreover, Professor Alberto Vanucci points out that the independence of appointees may be further reduced by the fact that they are not paid for their work on the Commission.

        Vanucci goes on to state that that the Commission is too new to assess in this respect. However, based on the institutional structure of the body, and the atmosphere of Italian politics, it's eminently reasonable to envisage that informal relationships exist between the Commission and political parties, thus compromising the Commission's ability to function without being subject to some fear and/or favor.

        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

        1) Interview with Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio. Fabrizio di Mascio is a researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on August 6, 2014.

        2) Interview with official source. Interviewed on August 18, 2014.

        3) 'Democrazia, Controllo Pubblico,e Trasparenza dei costi della politica'. Maria Romana Allegri, Researcher at the University La Sapienza, April 30, 2014 Link: https://www.academia.edu/7550991/Democraziacontrollopubblicoetrasparenzadeicostidellapolitica

        4) Interview with Professor Alberto Vannucci, Department of Political Science, University of Pisa, November 19, 2014.

        Secondary source: Group of States against Corruption (2014). 'Compliance Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding'. http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoRC3%282014%299ItalyEN.pdf

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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

        The main political finance oversight authority, the “Commission for transparency and control of the political parties and movements’ balance sheets” – renamed as the “Commission for the guarantee of the statute and for the transparency of the political parties’ balance sheets” by law 13/2014 – was established recently (by law 96/2012) in response to the need for a more powerful and effective political finance monitoring authority. The Commission is composed by five members selected from among magistrates belonging to judicial bodies and appointed one by the First President of the Court of Cassation, one by the President of the Council of State and three appointed by the President of the Court of Accounts. Their nomination takes place after joint decision of the President of the Senate and the President of the Chamber of Deputies.

        With the establishment of this Commission the controlling powers over political finance have increased substantially. Indeed, as also underlined by the Group of States against Corruption in its Evaluation and Compliance reports on Transparency of party funding (issued in 2012 and 2014, respectively) the previous authority did not have investigative powers. The Commission, instead, has for the first time effective powers of investigation over the political parties’ balance sheets presented from 2013 onwards. Additionally, the Commission has sanctioning powers and can directly interact with the relevant political parties, whereas previously this was a prerogative of the Offices of the Chamber of Deputies after which the previous authorities issued their reports (cf. Piccio, 2014).

        As reported by the President of the Commission Mr. Bruno Bove, from its establishment in January to June 2013, the Commission controlled sixty-six political parties’ balance sheets with relation to the years of 2011 and 2012. Indeed, when the Commission was established, controls with relation to the previous years were still pending, as the previous authority did not manage to perform all its activities. Currently, the Commission is in the process of controlling over the financial accounts with relation to the year 2013. As reported by an official source, within the Commission decisions are taken based on unanimity.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Alberto Vanucci, an expert on corruption in Italy, states that the Commission is too new to assess in regard to its independence. Due to the appointment process, the Commission is not rigidly separated from the political sphere, and given the prevailing atmosphere of Italian politics, he reasons that there may be non-explicit "collusion" between the Commission and politicians. However, given how new the Commission is, explicit examples of this have yet to be found. It is important to emphasize that, generally speaking, there is a large discrepancy between the laws and the practice in almost every normative field in Italy, including political finance.

        Note that all of the members of the Commission resigned in October 2014.

        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

        1) Official source. Audition of the President of the Commission for transparency and control of the political parties and movements’ balance sheets, Mr. Bruno Bove, at the Commission for Constitutional Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies. June 26, 2013. Link: http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/resoconti/commissioni/stenografici/pdf/01/indag/c01finanziamentopubblico/2013/06/27/leg.17.stencomm.data20130627.U1.com01.indag.c01finanziamentopubblico.0001.pdf

        2) Piccio, D. R. (2014). A Self-Interested Legislator? Party Regulation in Italy. South European Society and Politics, Vol. 19, No. 1.

        3) Interview with official source. Interviewed on August 18, 2014.

        4) Allegri, M. R. (2014). Democrazia, controllo pubblico e trasparenza dei costi della politica. Federalismi No. 9/2014.

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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

        As reported by the President of the Commission Mr. Bruno Bove in his audition at the Commission for Constitutional Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies in June 2013, the Commission is currently overloaded, and should be provided with greater resources in terms of staff and structures. According to an official source, a study is currently (as of August 2014) taking place in order to examine legislative amendments aimed to provide the Commission with additional staff.

        Indeed, he mentions how the Commission must control all political parties’ balance sheets including those that are still pending from the period before the Commission’s establishment in 2013. As different norms apply for the control of the parties’ financial accounts before and after 2013, the Commission is required to get acquainted with all different legal frameworks regulating the matter. This all reflects in a burden for the Commission. This burden has become even heavier considering that further powers were assigned to the Commission by the more recent political finance law (2014) in relation to controls of the political parties’ statutes. Due to this burden, the Commission should, in Mr Bove's opinion, be provided with greater resources in terms of staff and structures. Currently, the Commission's staff is insufficient for carrying out its mandate effectively, and they cannot monitor all incoming reports.

        In his June 2013 audition, Mr. Bove also proposed that the Commission should have a more stable composition, “at least for the four years of the members’ formal appointment”. Indeed, as the law prohibits the members of the Commission to carry out other functions, in May 2013 two members resigned after being appointed to Ministries. A study is currently underway to examine whether and how the Commission should be provided with additional staff.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Note that all of the members of the Commission resigned in October 2014 due to an alleged lack of the resources necessary to adequately complete their tasks.

        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

        1) Audition of the President of the Commission for transparency and control of the political parties and movements’ balance sheets, Mr. Bruno Bove, at the Commission for Constitutional Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies. June 26, 2013. Link: http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/resoconti/commissioni/stenografici/pdf/01/indag/c01finanziamentopubblico/2013/06/27/leg.17.stencomm.data20130627.U1.com01.indag.c01finanziamentopubblico.0001.pdf

        2) Interview with official source. Interviewed on August 18, 2014.

        3) Allegri, M. R. (2014). 'Democrazia, controllo pubblico e trasparenza dei costi della politica', Federalismi 09/2014

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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

        The main authority responsible for the monitoring of political parties’ financial balance sheets, the ‘Commission for the transparency and control of the political parties’ accounts’ (since 2014, ‘Commission for the guarantee of the political parties’ statutes and for the transparency and the control of their accounts’) was established by law 96/2012 and became operational in January 2013. Under the law, the authority must verify whether the political parties’ financial statements comply with the legal requirements. It has no formal investigatory powers.

        Official sources reported how the Commission conducts about 60 audits, yearly. In his audition at the Commission for Constitutional Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies (June 2013), the President of the Commission, Mr. Bruno Bove, mentioned that in the period from January to April 2013 the Commission conducted 66 compliance reviews still pending from the previous accounting years, out of which approximately 50 were found irregular and required further specification from the political parties. Information on the controls conducted by the Commission during the most recent election campaign (2013) are still unavailable.

        As for the other monitoring authorities relating to election campaigns of parties and individual candidates (respectively, the Board of Comptrollers of Election Expenses and the Regional Electoral Guarantee Board), they do conduct compliance audits but have no power of investigations. The mainly procedural functions of the latter authorities are also underlined by the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe in an Evaluation report on Transparency of Party Funding issued in 2012 and in the following Compliance report issued in 2014.

        This is also confirmed by Davide del Monte (Transparency International – Italia), who argued how these authorities perform formal controls only, verifying whether the documentation produced by political parties and candidates is in accordance to the law.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The members of the Commission have recently resigned (in October 2014) because of the lack of resources needed to conduct effectively its tasks.

        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

        1) Davide del Monte. Transparency International – Italia. Interviewed on July 23, 2014.

        2) Interview with official source. Interviewed on August 18, 2014.

        3) Piccio Daniela R. (2014). A self interested legislator? Party Regulation in Italy. South European Society and Politics, Vol. 19, No. 1. Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/6Z8A78aJhSPvYiZy5irN/full.

        4) Group of States against Corruption. Third Evaluation Round. Evaluation Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding (March 2012).

        5) Group of States against Corruption. Third Evaluation Round. Compliancy Report on Italy: Transparency of Party Funding (June 2014). Link: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoRC3%282014%299ItalyEN.pdf

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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

        Under law 96/2012 the monitoring authority, the “Commission for the guarantee of the statute and for the transparency of the political parties’ balance sheets”, is required to present a report on the results of its investigations and/or audits to the Presidents of the two Chambers of the Italian parliament. The latter have the duty to publish these reports on their respective webpages. This rule was recently introduced and is in force from the accounting year of 2013 onwards. Hence, whether it will be applied in practice and the timing by which the two Chambers of the Italian parliament will publish this information are still unknown.

        Under the legislation in force before 2012, the monitoring authorities had no obligation to publish the results of their audits. However, the political finance audit reports were granted upon request. Only the reports issued by the Court of Audit (which is now replaced by the “Commission for the guarantee of the statute and for the transparency of the political parties’ balance sheets”) were published on its website. To be noted however, how under the previous legislation, monitoring authorities’ powers were merely formal, and did not entail power of inspection or investigation.

        All in all, as also maintained by members of civil society organizations and journalists, the transparency of the controls on the political actors’ financial management has been among the most critical aspects of the Italian political finance legislation. Yet, as Davide del Monte argued, the legal framework on political finance improved considerably at least with relation to transparency and public access to political finance information.

        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

        1) Official document. Abolizione del finanziamento pubblico diretto, trasparenza e democraticità dei partiti e regolamentazione della contribuzione in loro favore. Affari Costituzionali, della Presidenza del Consiglio e interni. Scheda di lettura No. 26. June 17, 2013. http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/dossier/Testi/ac0158.htm

        2) Interview with official source. Interviewed on August 18, 2014.

        3) Paola Caporossi (ed.) (2013). La riforma dei partiti in Italia. Fondazione Etica.

        4) Sergio Rizzo. 3) ‘Spese dei partiti «fuori controllo» La Corte dei conti: sono insindacabili’, Sergio Rizzo, Il Corriere, August 4, 2014. http://www.corriere.it/politica/14agosto04/spese-partiti-fuori-controllo-corte-conti-sono-insindacabili-7b1dfdcc-1bf0-11e4-91c9-c777f3f2edee.shtml

        5) Davide del Monte. Transparency International – Italia. Interviewed on July 22, 2014.

        Secondary source: Group of States against Corruption. Transparency of Party Funding. June 20, 2014. http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/greco/evaluations/round3/GrecoRC3%282014%299ItalyEN.pdf

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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

        The law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and the sanctions related to noncompliance. Noticeably, Italy did not establish a single authority controlling over political finance, but different authorities exist with different mandates and powers. The responsible bodies for imposing sanctions to political parties and movements are the newly established the ‘Commission for the guarantee of the statute and for the transparency of the political parties’ balance sheets’ and the Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies (both regulated in art. 9 of law 96/2012). The Commission “may apply a pecuniary sanction” for situations in which political parties fail to meet their reporting obligations, such as to submit their financial statements or to make their accounts public. The Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies “may suspend the disbursement of public funding to those political parties that do not comply with the law”, as reported by the Commission.

        The Regional Electoral Guarantee Board is responsible for imposing sanctions in relation to violations of the rules on candidates’ electoral campaigns and on candidates’ election expenses reporting. Under article 15 of law 515/1993, depending on the type of violation, the Regional Electoral Guarantee Board decides on removal from office of the elected candidate, or applies a pecuniary sanction.

        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

        1) Law 96/2012, 'Norms on the reduction of public funding to political parties and movements, and dispositions for granting transparency and control of their financial accounts'. 2012. Article 9. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

        2) Law 515/1993, ‘Norms for the electoral campaign for the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic,' 1993. Article 15. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-10;515!vig=

        3) Law 13/2014, 'Abolition of direct public financing, norms promoting transparancy and democracy of political parties and regulating their voluntary contributions and indirect funding." 2014.
        Link: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=65892

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

        In case of noncompliance with the regulations or incorrect accounting by political parties the ‘Commission for the guarantee of the statute and for the transparency of the political parties’ balance sheets’ has the power to impose administrative, pecuniary sanctions directly on the political parties. The sanctions range from smaller pecuniary fines up to the complete withdrawal of public funding. The latter applies when “political parties and movements do not comply with the rule of reporting their financial sheets with the respective attachments, or the report by the external audit or the approval of the financial sheets by the internal party representative” (article 9 of law 96/2012).

        The law instead does not provide to the Commission the power to prosecute violators before the courts or refer cases to public prosecution directly.

        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

        1) Law 96/2012, 'Norms on the reduction of public funding to political parties and movements, and dispositions for granting transparency and control of their financial accounts'. 2012. Article 9. Link: http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2012-07-06;96!vig=

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

        The efficacy of sanctioning processes for political finance violations in Italy do not differ from sanctioning processes involving corrupt practices: they are overall, ineffective. As Davide del Monte observed, the sanctioning system of political finance violations was criticised by the Group of States against Corruption, which recommended that Italian authorities sensibly reinforce and improve it in order for sanctions to be effective.

        As observed by Fabrizio di Mascio, cases of repeat offenders emerged recently (May/June 2014), with the scandals related to the World Exposition Milano 2015. Two former politicians, previously convicted for illegal financing of political parties in the early 1990s corruption investigations, were found guilty for having favoured, through political favours and connections, a system of illegal tenders for the organization of the World Exposition in Milan. Yet, as di Mascio underlined, this is not a weakness of the political finance regulation as such, but rather it is a weakness of the entire Italian penal system, due to the slow judicial mechanism and the statute of limitation.

        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

        1) Davide del Monte. Transparency International – Italia. Interviewed on July 22, 2014.

        2) ‘La confessione di Mister Expo. “Appalti in cambio di protezioni”’, Paolo Biondani, L’Espresso, May 14, 2014. Link: http://espresso.repubblica.it/attualita/2014/05/13/news/la-confessione-di-mister-expo-appalti-in-cambio-di-protezioni-1.165208.

        3) Interview with Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio. Fabrizio di Mascio is researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on August 6, 2014.

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

        Enforcement of political finance regulations is a persistent problem in Italy. This is the consequence of a number of factors. First, as Dr. Fabrizio di Mascio (researcher) argued, “the regulation is still lacking coordination and contains several loopholes. Political finance regulation should be comprehensive and internally coherent, and should regulate all aspects of the political parties’ and candidates’ political life (including the local level)”. Among the most relevant loopholes, as also observed by the Group of State against Corruption (Greco) in its Compliance Report on Transparency of Party Funding in Italy, the Italian legislation characterizes by the absence of coordination between the different law enforcement authorities. Indeed, three authorities exist with the power to monitor over the political parties’ or candidates’ financial management but no cooperation among the three has been established thus far. Moreover, their powers appear limited. A weak legal framework is therefore a first reason for enforcement not being effective.

        Yet, as legislators are also partisans, as argued by Daniela R. Piccio (researcher), the very presence of such loopholes may suggest an intrinsically self-interested nature of the Italian political finance legislator. Indeed, the way in which legislation has been established thus far appears oriented to avoid imposing too many rules on political parties. This is also the opinion of Davide del Monte (Transparency International – Italia), who argued how “the political power has purposefully elaborated a system of formal rules aimed to create a non-transparent system, difficult to access for civil society actors and difficult to control for monitoring authority.

        This said, and despite its limitations, the adoption of the two most recent political finance reforms in June 2012 and February 2014 have improved the political finance legal framework substantially. First, they provide investigation and sanctioning powers to the monitoring authority. Second, they force political parties to comply with a number of transparency obligations. Third, they introduce greater public access to political finance information. It is early to assess whether the new political finance framework will improve the system of law enforcement.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The principal shortcoming of the Italian law-making consists in the lack of feedback loops on the impacts of the different reforms promoted from 1974 to 2014. In fact, by observing the “intensity” of the law-making process in the field – eleven relevant norms in forty years – and following the results of an in-depth analysis of the contents of the reforms and parliamentary debates, it is plausible to argue that this layered and fragmented legislation responded to political/economic contingencies rather than to a coherent design.

        This assumption rests on the reactive style of the law-making process, which followed to public discontent toward widespread scandals of political corruption and bribery (the laws passed in 1974, 1993, 2012 and 2014) or to mere party needs to survival (the reforms adopted in 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2006). While the former factors are well-known and have often been used as explanans of the phenomenon, the latter need to be investigated more in-depth, although initial empirical evidence has been already provided in a previous study (Pizzimenti, Ignazi 2011).

        Another key-point of the evolution of the political finance regime, in Italy, consists in the dealignment between party funding and party regulation. None of the normative changes seriously addressed the problem of party regulation: although L. 13/2014 has introduced some mandatory requirements to access (private) funds, Italian parties are still disciplined as private associations, in line with the legacies of the post authoritarian period. The study has shown whether the Italian parties, even if belonging to different ideological and organizational traditions, all converged to maintain this legal status. Furthermore, in spite of the increasing and conspicuous amount of public funds received by the State, the Italian parties – acting as Legislators – have always prevented the adoption of a set of effective external controls over their financial activities. Inter-party collusion, then, is another feature of the Italian case.

        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

        1) Fabrizio di Mascio. Fabrizio di Mascio is researcher, analyst and policy advisor at the Italian Anticorruption Agency (ANAC). He has worked on party patronage, fiscal retrenchment and public management reform. Interviewed on August 6, 2014.

        2) Davide del Monte. Transparency International – Italia. Interviewed on July 22, 2014.

        3) Piccio Daniela R. (2014). A self interested legislator? Party Regulation in Italy. South European Society and Politics, Vol. 19, No. 1. Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/6Z8A78aJhSPvYiZy5irN/full.

        Secondary source: Group of States against Corruption. Third Evaluation Round. Evaluation Report on Italy. Transparency of Party Funding (March 2012)

        Reviewer's sources: Pizzimenti, E. (2014), “The Italian Case: Party Collusion, Normative Layering and Lack of Controls”. Paper presented at APSA Conference, Sydney, 28 Sept.-1 Oct. 2014

Italy is a parliamentary republic with a bicameral legislature. Members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected by voters on the basis of proportional representation in a party list system. There are 360 deputies. 315 members of the Senate are directly elected on a regional basis, and a number of additional seats in the Senate are held open for appointed members. To become a law, a bill must be approved by both houses.

The President of Italy is elected by a joint session parliament every 7 years. Technically the head of state, he has the power the dissolve both houses of Parliament, and appoints the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is either the leader of the coalition that wins elections, or an appointee of the President instructed to form a national unity government. He must be supported by both houses of parliament.

The most recent elections to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate were held in February of 2013. The left wing Democratic Party won 29.5% of the popular vote, followed by the center right coalition of the People of Freedom with 29.1% of the vote, and the Five Star Movement at 25.5%. The DP holds 345 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 123 Senate seats; the PoF has 125 and 117, respectively, and the 5 Star Movement has 109 and 54. The Democrats and the PoF are currently ruling in a grand coalition helmed by Matteo Renzi.

Campaigns are funded at the party level, but candidates can also raise their own finances.