Major parties are suspicious of "electoral crowdfunding" and smaller are receptive – The Economic Journal

New law of parity in political power comes into force in July - The Economic Journal


The main arguments advanced by BE, PAN, CDS-PP, PCP and PS were the risks of "anonymity" of the origin of the donations and the practical difficulty in ensuring compliance with the legal rules governing party and campaign funding.

Asked by Lusa, the PCP said it did not want to use electronic donation platforms, claiming that "direct and personal fundraising from the militant initiative is far more scrutinizing and less disguised in digital anonymity."

The CDS-PP underlined the "risks with its use" if the legal requirements for the "full identification" of the origin and values ​​concerned are not guaranteed. For centrists, no change to the law is required to regulate this particular funding medium.

The BE also expressed doubts about whether it was possible to meet all donor identification requirements and said it preferred, like the PCP, direct fundraising and without intermediaries.

The PS, which "inaugurated" in 2013 the "crowdfunding electoral" in Portugal in the campaign of the municipalities, chose to dispense this resource and account, in the budget for the European ones, with the state subsidy and traditional initiatives of fund raising to finance the expenses .

The PAN stated that "crowdfunding" is not foreseen at the moment and that it is necessary to prevent "interest groups" from financing "kidnapping and conditioning the political action of the parties".

Under the PSD, the secretary general, José Silvano, told Lusa that the issue has not yet been discussed in the party, and therefore the financing of the European campaign will be done in the usual way, mainly through public subsidy. However, it did not exclude that in the future it might come to be considered.

Public subsidy has been the main source of revenue for political parties with parliamentary representation to finance electoral expenditure. Other possible forms of funding in the European campaign are the contributions of the parties themselves, which sometimes resort to bank loans, and the product of fund-raising initiatives.

Without access to the state grant, Livre sees the "crowdfunding electoral" as a possibility to consider and is currently analyzing the terms in which it can be done.

"Being a party that is not represented in parliament depends on the funding of the members, whether by quotas or by donations. As long as we can identify the origin, if there is such a technical possibility, we will certainly use it, "said Paulo Muacho.

The newly created Alliance Party operates on its own site a separate "donations" tab that can be made by bank transfer or by ATM reference.

"The amount is selected, the questionnaire is filled out, with name, address and tax identification number to receive the respective receipt," explained Luís Cirilo, Executive Director of the Alliance, expressing his conviction that the information provided by donors corresponds to that which the law requires.

The use of "collaborative financing" through electronic platforms for electoral purposes was based in Portugal on two experiences, the first in 2013, for the socialist candidacy to the Lisbon Chamber, and the second in 2017, by a group of citizens who were elected to the municipalities in Coimbra.

In 2013, according to the site of the platform for collaborative funding PPL, the application "Juntos Por Lisboa", headed by António Costa, raised 3,588 euros from 87 supporters. In the municipal elections of 2017, this platform was also used by the group of citizens electors "Somos Coimbra", which raised 12,291 euros from 102 supporters.

This year alone, the Entity of Political Accounts and Financing, which monitors the accountability of the parties, has taken a position on the use of collaborative funding for electoral purposes, admitting to having had several requests for clarification from some parties.

Lacking in law, the ECFP framed "collaborative funding" in the legal category of revenues obtained through "fundraising activities", a figure that bans donor anonymity and imposes limits on contributions.

According to PPL executive director Yoahn Nesme, "strictly speaking", the concept of "crowdfunding" should allow the anonymity of "supporters" of "projects or causes", which may be cultural or social, to pay a veterinarian's account or to fund an athlete.

This platform was embroiled in controversy because it was used by nurses to finance strike funds that the Attorney General's Office considered inadmissible because they were not managed by their unions.

The platform allows the contribution by reference to ATM, credit card or even mbway, and finally by bank transfer to amounts above 50 euros.

In the case of the two political campaigns, PPL decided that contributions would be made through bank transfer and directly to a "party account", requiring the submission of the proof and identification of the taxpayer's tax number of the donor.

It was at this stage that, according to PS source, it was realized that the crowdfunding did not work in the best way in the candidacy to the Lisbon chamber in 2013. Among the people who contributed to the campaign, some did not answer the questions that followed to provide the personal data needed to identify the origin of the funds. In those cases, the donations they made were eventually returned, the source said.

PPL's ​​executive director admitted to Lusa that, in practice, the "ad-hoc format" that had to be created by the platform to meet legal transparency requirements alters the spirit of "collaborative funding", making it a " of crowdfunding "that may have little interest for political parties as a source of large funding.

"But one more marketing action, one more way of gaining notoriety for the campaign, for the parties to appear as very modern" on the Internet, for the possible sharing of social networks and for the diversity of the audience it can reach, he said.



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