How Does Political Finance Regulation Influence Control of Corruption? Improving Governance in Latin America

In this paper, we address the question of how political finance regulation affects control of corruption in Latin America from a quantitative perspective. We present a Political Finance Regulation Index with panel data from 180 countries over 20 years (1996-2015). This index was developed using the IDEA Political Finance Database, and once created, was applied to assess the relationship between political finance regulation and control of corruption.

In order to do this, we use the equilibrium model of control of corruption developed by Mungiu-Pippidi (2015). We also included judicial independence and public investment, considered as a constraint and an opportunity to corrupt, respectively. Lastly, we use control variables for level of development.

Results show that, in Latin America, increases in political finance regulation are related with a deterioration of control of corruption. This relationship is statistically significant in the panel estimations. Inversely, the negative relationship between regulation and control of corruption becomes positive in countries with high levels of judicial independence. In a similar way, increases in opportunities to corrupt, represented by levels of public investment, have a significant and negative effect in control of corruption.

Quién es Quién Wiki / Who’s Who Wiki

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The opacity characterizing the Latin American private sector alters the balance between liberal democracy and market capitalism, ultimately affecting national development processes.

Additionally, the lack of an effective legal framework implies that civil society actors, as well as investors and other corporate stakeholders, lack the tools to intervene in corporate decisions that affect the public interest, forcing us instead to rely upon voluntary corporate action or porous legal systems.

However, today there are alternative, innovative tools to compensate for these shortcomings. Information technology is simplifying the participation of individuals and promoting the construction of a context that fosters socially responsible behavior and the exercise of professional ethics.

Increasingly, projects with collaborative platforms specifically designed to promote a culture of transparency and to foster, in the long term, compliance with fiduciary and legal standards are coming on-line.

Who’s Who Wiki combines business intelligence with transparency technology and network visualization to facilitate access to symmetric information about corporations and investors. With PODER’s editorial site, rindecuentas.org, we promote MéxicoLeaks, a secure whistleblowing platform.

The objective of the project is analyze the Mexican corporate network and facilitate public understanding of its individual and corporate members.

 

Twitter: @QuienQuienWiki

Read More About QQW: here.

Latest Article (Spanish): “CMHN, la política de negocios, las élites y la toma de decisiones en México”.

Publicidad Oficial (Official Publicity)

Soft censorship or indirect government censorship, includes a variety of actions intended to influence media—short of closures, imprisonments, direct censorship of specific content, or physical attacks on journalists or media facilities.

Publicidad Oficial focuses on financial aspects of official soft censorship in Mexico. In this country, the allocation of Government advertising is the more common tool to exert soft censorship and is an integral part of the country’s complicated media landscape. Absent precise and clear rules, it is a means to influence or even a tool to blackmail media owners and journalists.

Federal and local governments use official advertising to shape media outlets’ editorial line and push partisan agendas. Opaque and arbitrary allocation of official advertising constrains pluralism and a diversity of voices by selectively funding media outlets that support officials and their policies.

Read their latest report here: Buying Compliance:Governmental Advertising and Soft Censorship in Mexico

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Twitter: @PubliOficial@fundarMexico

Fundar

Centro de Investigación y Análisis

Fondos a la Vista

Donations to the third sector are currently scarce in Mexico, as a result, levels of overall investment in the projects supported by civil society are rather low.

At the same time, although organizations are accountable and report to various authorities, society at large does not know about such information, or simply do not have easy access to it.

Fondos a la Vista  has developed a platform to facilitate information about civil society organizations committed to social development and their donors.

The project has as its main objective to promote transparency and accountability in the sector and to promote trust in private donations and organizations.

It also aims to the recognition of the work and commitment of CSOs that already are have good transparency practices in place.

319081_132582570222812_337445412_nFacebook: Fondos a la Vista Twitter: @FondosalaVista

Alternativas y Capacidades A.C

 

Alternativas strengths citizens alternatives to the social development of Mexico. Its work is focused on three areas of action:


1. Citizens Academy of Public Policy. They work to build vision and capabilities among citizens organized to participate, affect and improve social policy, help to better define public problems, design better public interventions and monitor and evaluate public policies.

2. Development Policy: Alternativas works for policies, laws and a regulatory environment that recognizes the value of an organized citizenry.


3. Social Investment:
Alternativas promotes strategic and visionary social development investment to facilitate CSOs access to private financing available. They work with foundations, community foundations, companies and individual donors interested in creating institutions.

Consult Aternativas Institutional Resume.

¿Quién Compró?

Quién Compró? is a data journalism platform designed to monitor and foster transparency in the use of public money in the Chambers of Deputies and Senators in Mexico.

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Transparency problems in Mexico

1. Mexico has a Congress with high levels of opacity

The legislative power is one of the least transparent institutions in Mexico. In many cases,  citizens have no possibility to track how millions of pesos are spent.

2. Congress spends an excessive amount of money

The Mexican parliament is the fifth most expensive in the world. A Mexican senator receives 13,400 dollars per month, whereas a German congressman receives 10,400 dollars per month.

3. Transparency is expensive

Citizens have to pay in order to receive detailed public information. Very frequently, it is not available in a digital format.

4. Delayed responses

Mexican citizens have to wait up to 8 months to receive a response from the authorities, which as well, in many cases, might not be completely satisfying.

5.  Information is delivered in “unfriendly” formats

The Mexican Congress does not have an open database; it provides information only in hard copy or PDF document format. This complicates the ability to analyze the presented data and represents an obstacle for accountability.

Quién Compró? General &  Particular Goals

General. To monitor and foster transparency in the usage of public money in the Mexican Congress.

Particular.1. To elaborate a database of the congress expenditures.
2. To facilitate the access to the new created database for the public.
3. To generate easy-to-understand visualizations of important data.

Targeted Users

1. Citizens
Visual material will allow tracking in detail Congresses spending.

2. Investigators
Quién compró? plans to offer the possibility to download data directly from their website so it can be used for investigative purposes.

3. Journalists
Data can also be used easily to increase public awareness.

 

How they do it?

*Gathering essential evidence, using the Transparency Law to access to official contracts and bills.

*Organizing the information to build an open database.

*Facilitating the access of data by constructing an interactive search engine for the public to consult it.

*Visualizing the data of mayor importance.

Impact

Short Term- To provide citizens, for the fist time, with an access tool that illustrates how Congress spends their money.

Midterm – Journalists will have access to raw material for further investigations that might influence Mexican public agenda.

Long term- By revealing the uses and abuses of public money, judicial processes can be initiated, contributing to the fight against corruption.

Scale

Quién Compró? is planing to  associate with local groups and institutions, interested in the creation transparency of the local Congresses expenditures, in the different states of the Mexican Republic. They also will offer their platform and consulting services to replicate the model at the local level.

Funding

Quién Compró?  is a non-profit organization, but aspires to become self-sustaining through actions such as:

*Donations

*Funds raised via crowd funding

*Financial support from other non-governmental organizations and universities

*Special events

*Collaborations to different communications means.

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Facebook: Quién Compró?Twitter: @QuienCompro
YouTube: ¿Quién compró?

Alcalde, cómo vamos?

 

Alcalde, cómo vamos? is a platform of more than 40 social, academic and business organizations that agree to work for the civic and democratic maturity of the Nuevo León State in Mexico.

They have proposed 10 concrete actions to all candidates for Mayor in the 9 neighboring municipalities of Monterrey during the 2012 electoral process.Elected mayors of Monterrey, Guadalupe, Apodaca, San Nicolas de los Garza, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Santa Catarina, Escobedo, and Juárez García signed a commitment to perform these actions between 2012 and 2015.

During these three years, the platform is measuring, comparing and communicating the level of compliance of each action in each municipality.

Alcalde, cómo vamos? it is an unprecedented instrument for accountability that can contribute to changing the relationship between citizens and local authorities.

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Facebook comovamosnl · Twitter @ comovamosnl ·
YouTube: comovamosnl

México Infórmate

México Infórmate works to promote access to public information in Mexico. At the same time, it seeks to generate a national dialogue  involving civil society organizations, governmental organizations and academic institutions on the importance of the right to know.

Its main objectives are:

  • To involve citizens in public affairs and get them to participate, in an informed manner, of decision-making processes and government oversight.
  • To inspire journalists to use the laws of access to information as a critical tool for investigative work.
  • To establish dialogue channels among media, public bodies and the general public, to discuss the importance of the right to know.
  • To promote the role of the culture of transparency in the consolidation of participatory democracy in Mexico.
  • To contribute to the dissemination of the culture of transparency in Mexico and promote the practical use of the laws of access to information as a tool to improve the quality of life for people.

México Infórmate has been involved in the  drafting of a citizens’ legal initiative on transparency (unfortunately, legislators are seeking to negatively modify it, even when they themselves invited civil society to participate).

The organization also trains  journalists on right to information and transparency issues and periodically publishes its own blog in El Universal, one of the major national newspapers.

So far, México Infórmate has published three studies on the Mexican Congress, the Administration of Justice System. More recently, it carried out a study on local Institutes of Transparency, which can be consulted here.

Facebook: México InfórmateTwitter:@MxInformate

Yo contra la corrupción (#YoCo)

#YoCo is a Mexican network of CSOs, citizens and public officials concerned about corruption. It works for the development of anti-corruption initiatives maintaining a focus on the prevention of corruption in the public sector.

The project is structured by a model  based on four measures:

1. Diagnostic of work processes to identify risks of corruption in public agencies and private actors.

2. To raise public awareness on the existence of acts and behaviors to detect corruption risk maps.

3. Identifying corrective measures.

4. Identification and punishment of corruption acts.

These concrete actions seek to effectively prevent acts of corruption by public servants and citizens.

By August 2015 #YoCo will present a legislative initiative that will focus on prevention and citizen participation in the fight against corruption.

 

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Organizations leading #YoCo :

  • Aportes Contraloría, A.C.
  • CIMTRA: Ciudadanos por Municipios Transparentes
  • Desarrollo Institucional de la Vida Pública A.C
  • Instituto para la Defensa del Interés Público, A.C. (IDIP)
  • ONG Contraloría Ciudadana para la Rendición de Cuentas, A.C

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Facebook: YoContraLaCorrupciónTwitter: @YoVsCorrupción

Borde Político A. C. – Borde Jurídico

Founded in 2012,  Borde Político is a NGO created with the purpose of developing digital tools for monitoring the performance of the Mexican Congress.

Through this platform, citizens can better know the work of their representatives and find interactive tools designed to function as simple mechanisms for consulting, displaying or disseminate relevant information related to both Chamber of the Mexican Congress.

Since 2013, through a specialized project named Borde Jurídico, the transparency effort extended to observe the work of the Judiciary Branch.

Its team consists of 13 people, which includes political scientists, designers, lawyers, philosophers and programmers is dedicated to digitize, illustrate and make available, in real time, information generated in the Congress and the Supreme Court. The digital platforms developed by Borde Político aim to encourage citizen contributions and debate to political processes and legislation.

In addition, Borde Político is part of the Opening Parliament Alliance (Mexico) and has established important partnerships to work on matters of open budget and legislative budgets with renowned civil society organizations in Mexico such as Fundar and Métrica Pública.

Twitter: @bordepolitico /@bordejuridicoFacebook: Borde Político, Borde Jurídico • Youtube: Borde Político, Borde Jurídico

Borde Político A.C.

Borde Político is a NGO founded in 2012 that develops digital tools for monitoring the performance of the Mexican Parliament. In this platform, citizens can know the work of their representatives by simple mechanisms for consultation, display and dissemination of information through interactive tools.

Since 2013, through a specialized project named Borde Jurídico, the transparency effort extended to observe the work of the Judiciary Branch. The team of 13 people, which includes political scientists, designers, lawyers, philosophers and programmers is dedicated to digitalize, illustrate and make available the information generated in the Congress and the Supreme Court in real time. Digital platforms developed by Borde Político aim to encourage debate and citizen contributions to political processes and legislation.

Fin al abuso (1st Campaign)

The project measures the amount of money annually stolen and diverted from education in Mexico, and holds a permanent campaign to advertise and display what could have been done in the education field in Mexico with the money that is lost to corruption. Additionally, “Fin al abuso” encourages citizens to join electronic campaigns and take legal action to demand that money spent on education is rightly used.

First campaign

Following up a three years movement named “Where is my teacher?”, Fin al abuso is leading a group of organizations demand for a single, complete and reliable registry of basic education teachers. The obligation to submit such registry was established in the enactment of the Mexican Federal Spending Decrees for 2010, 2011, and 2012; however, it does not exist so far.

Fin al Abuso, has detected (by name) 22,353 people, who are paid an income as teachers or principals, yet are not teaching. These people are the so-called “union commissioners” (UC) teacher union workers whose salaries cost Mexicans at least 1.7 billion pesos every year.

 Mexicanos Primero

“¡Fin al abuso!”  denounced this wrongdoing in 2012 and invited Mexicans to join the demand of more money to be allocated for education and less to be given to the Teachers Union.

The campaign collected signatures at public spaces, universities and forums; and had broad media presence in Mexico City, Tepic, Tijuana, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

In three months 230,240 citizens signed the campaign and 115 NGOs supported the initiative.

With each collected signature a letter demanding public resources to be well used was sent to the President of Mexico, the presidents of the Senate and House of Representatives, and the Ministers of Education and of Finance. If these Union Commissioners are essential to the SNTE (teachers’ union), then they should be paid from union dues deducted from teacher salaries. Those who signed received a reply from the federal authorities.

SEP (Secretariat of Public Education) and the SNTE reacted differing only in regards to the number of UC: SEP reported that there were “only12,704 commissioners whilst the SNTE admitted having over 160,000 commissioners.

In a second conference, Fin al Abuso published a document supported by the National Bar Association of Mexico (Ilustre y Nacional Colegio de Abogados de México) concluding that the payment of UC from the federal treasury is illegal.

 

 Twitter: @Finalabuso    •   YouTube: MexicanosPrimero  • Facebook: FinAlAbuso

Corruption Tour Bus – Corruptour

The Corruption Tour Bus (Corruptour) is a unique and disruptive product, designed to create awareness of the shameless government corruption in Nuevo León, Mexico. The past 10 years have been tragic for this prosperous state that once stood out for its sound business and peaceful environment. However, the last government administrations and political parties have partaken in ridiculous corruption scandals that have resulted in increased violence. Vía Ciudadana, a local movement that promotes independent candidates for 2015 elections, is the author this project.

The Corruptour’s strategy is to take citizens on a ride to eleven city landmarks that represent the major scandals of the past years: over cost state government buildings (Torre Administrativa), the tragic Casino Royale, where 52 innocent people lost their lives in an act of terrorism and no authority has been prosecuted, and City Hall as the actual mayor, Margarita Arellanes has been accused of proselytism, amongst others.

The narrative of the tour includes the names of the government officials involved, amounts of bribes and extortion and a direct call to action to citizens to eradicate and punish all forms of corruption.

With this project, Vía Ciudadana expects to outrage citizens and understand the relation of government corruption with the damage caused to their state. 2015 can be the year of change, the year where honest and hard-working citizens enter government offices and make a transcendental change.

Twitter: @Corruptour Facebook: CorruptourYouTube: ViaCiudadana

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