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Sweden keeps secret party donations despite EU criticism

TT/The Local · 18 Feb 2010, 08:03

Published: 18 Feb 2010 08:03 GMT+01:00

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"We have on several occasions explained how the Swedish system is constructed, and so far it has worked fairly well," Beatrice Ask told Ekot.

Sweden is one of a handful of European countries where political parties can accept economic support without accounting for its origin. The practice has been criticized by the Council of Europe's corruption unit, which has recommended that Sweden increase transparency.

Within the current system in Sweden there exists a voluntary arrangement between the political parties where they declare the size and number of donations, but not the identity of the donor.

The system has its critics in Sweden with some arguing that the lack of transparency risks damaging public faith in the political system.

The government argues that as private donations only make up a small part of the pot - the majority of party funding is provided by the state system - it does not need changing.

Story continues below…

"It must be okay for me to donate money to a political party without declaring it. There is no one demanding that we publish our member lists, that would be odd," Ask told Ekot.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:38 February 18, 2010 by Jan M
Strange isn't it. Sweden is proud of the open access it provides to government papers/communications and transparency in every regard apart from the issue of political donations. What I wonder makes that so different? If there's nothing to hide then why hide.
10:24 February 18, 2010 by xavidx

10:30 February 18, 2010 by Glempa
Several years ago when the EU wanted to ban all tobacco advertising in sports, Tony Blair allowed Formula 1 to be exempt from this - the only sport allowed this despite being the richest sport. It later emerged that Bernie Eccelstone had donated £1 million pounds to the Labour Party.

You need transparency!
11:28 February 18, 2010 by Audrian
Donation to political candidates in US has corrupted the US political system to the core. Elected politicians in US openly serve business interest. For example, energy bill and drug bills were prepared by the respective representatives during Bush's term. The key officials around President Obama are from wall street or speak on wall street's behalf. Thus banks got the chunk of the bail out money of about $740b even though it was them who had created the crisis.

United State's imperialist foreign policy in the Middle East and Latin America, which is was intrusive, is done on behalf of companies whose profit is threatened.

Sweden is wrong to say private donation makes a minor percentage of the fund accessible to political candidates in Sweden. In the US it started at a very low base before it dominated US poltics totally.
11:50 February 18, 2010 by Craptastical

This isn't about whether or not private donations should or should not be allowed, but whether or not anonymous donations should be allowed.

IMHO any donations from non-government sources should not be allowed to be anonymous. It's important to see (for example) if Evil Co. AB or a wealthy individual is backing a specific party, and in the end influencing the party's platform. The first step is transparency, if it proves that the larger donators from private entities gain influence after a donation then the government needs to consider general donation pools to be distributed among all the parties.
12:29 February 18, 2010 by Nemesis
This is about democracy, not the inconvenience of a few politicians and those who bribe them.

If Sweden is going to continue to be a democracy and an active member of the European Union, Sweden needs to entrench democacry further into society, not remove it.

At present European MEP's are campaigning to have all moetary dontations and lobbying make 100% public for MEPs, which will be a brilliant step forward in teh democratic process for all.

Any arguement against complete 100% disslosure not only of all funding no matter how large or small the amount but also of any lobbying, no matter how much or little, is a direct attack on democracy.

In the USA, UK and Ireland party donations started out very small. Over the years they have increased. Now party funding in those three countries is basically commerical funding, with the consequences as seen during the recent economic collapse.

In Europe all party donations should be declared. Any attempt at annoymous dontation should be made a criminal offence. We need transparency in all politcal actions in all countries in Europe.

Germany in the 20's and 30's allowed donations to be kept from the public view. Look what that led to.

Democracy only occurs with complete transparency. That is absolute in the democratic process.
13:21 February 18, 2010 by McChatter
Paying taxes is regarded in Sweden as a "public" transaction. Skatteverket even sells your tax returns to whosoever is nosy enough to want to know what you pay.

And donating to political parties is not a "public" transaction.

Come off it, Mrs. Ask. Pull the other leg!
16:39 February 18, 2010 by peropaco
Beatrice Ask is only two years older than Michelle Pfeiffer and she looks like an 80 year old shopping bag lady. Gosh she is ugly!
19:20 February 18, 2010 by Redorm
Very strange that the rule of transparency that applies to private hardworking individuals does not apply to political parties. Sounds like keeping the peasants down in their shoes to me.........
19:43 February 18, 2010 by Kevin Harris
Is there anybody, other than the polititians who benefit, that can offer some kind of defence? There must be someone out there who thinks it's ok. We can't all agree! Is this Local forum history in the making?
21:32 February 18, 2010 by conboy
Beatrice Ask is the creme de la creme of Swedish political "!front foot" developments. She like the rest of the world is aware that public corruption does not exist in Sweden therefore there is no reason to change the domestic legislation. Guys what is it you "DON'T" understand?
13:50 February 19, 2010 by Kevin Harris
"...public corruption does not exist in Sweden..,." Conboy, and Beatice Ask (I presume)

LOL. Bofors weapons to India, SAAB Gripens to the Czech Republic and Austria, Volvo, Atlas Copco and Scania in Iraq's oil for food program, Skanska in Argentina. NCC and Skanska bribing Vägverket.

No wonder the Council of Europe is baffled. Perhaps Creamy Beatrice should spend less time on her front foot and more time catching up on the local news.
09:38 February 20, 2010 by conboy
Kevin I was being ironic....You forgot Swiss/Swedish ABB's bribery scandals.........
11:34 February 20, 2010 by Kevin Harris
Sorry Conboy, missed it. I must have been here too long and lost my sense of irony. Time to move on before I start liking lutfisk.
21:06 February 25, 2010 by conboy
Danger signs there mate!
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