Monitoring and oversight operations: Oversight of the legality of election and political party funding

As a politically independent actor, the National Audit Office is a credible and fair oversight authority in issues concerning election campaign and political party funding. The oversight operations can detect and prevent funding that is in violation of the Act on Political Parties or the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding and thus influence the legality of election and political party funding. The oversight enables improper funding to be detected.

Based on legislation, the tasks include reception and publishing of funding disclosures, communication with the disclosers, verifying the correctness of the received documents, and actions for verifying compliance with the statutory limitations. The National Audit Office has a purpose-built information system for the document management and the publication of disclosures.

The oversight of election campaign and political party funding is an established part of the operations of the National Audit Office. As far as the tasks laid down in the Act on Political Parties are concerned, it is a permanent duty requiring permanent resources. The duties regulated by the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding are election-specific but constitute a recurrent process. The tasks related to post-election reports require resources even during years when there are no elections.

Targeting of the oversight

According to the Act on Political Parties (10/1969, amended by 683/2010) and the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding (273/2009), it is a duty of the National Audit Office to receive election campaign funding disclosures and oversee their correctness. From the beginning of 2016, the National Audit Office has also overseen the state subsidies granted to political parties.

Focus areas in development

A working group set by the Ministry of Justice to develop the legislation on political party and election campaign funding started working in 2019, and its mandate will expire in May 2021. The National Audit Office holds two permanent expert positions in the working group. Any legislative amendments will be taken into account in the development work. The information system used for the oversight will be revamped to enable the National Audit Office to also receive election campaign funding disclosures on regional elections. The oversight of the district organizations of political parties will be based on electronic materials to the extent possible.

Plans for the oversight of political party and election campaign funding in 2021–2025

The content and schedule of the oversight reports are governed in material respects by the Act on Political Parties and the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding. The National Audit Office will meet the statutory reporting requirements. The reports will present views on the functioning of the legislation.

The following reports will be submitted to Parliament based on the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding:

  • A report on the 2021 municipal elections will be published in December 2021

  • A report of the 2023 parliamentary elections will be published in December 2023

  • A report on the 2024 presidential elections will be published in September 2024

  • A report on the 2024 European Parliament elections will be published in February 2025

  • A report on the 2025 municipal elections will be published in December 2025.

The possibility of regional elections in 2022 is taken into account in the planning.

The following reports will be submitted to Parliament based on the Act on Political Parties:

  • A report on the oversight operations in 2021 will be published in March 2022

  • A report on the oversight operations in 2022 will be published in March 2023

  • A report on the oversight operations in 2023 will be published in March 2024

  • A report on the oversight operations in 2024 will be published in March 2025.