A new study aiming to improve transparency in Colombia reveals that 94 per cent of enterprises believe that donating money to political causes is a corrupt practice.
The study, “Survey on the financing of election campaigns and political finance in Colombia,” was conducted by the Department of Criminology of Stockholm University in collaboration with the Transparency for Colombia.
302 businesses across Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and Bucaramanga were surveyed, between April 7 and 22 July 2009. The collection method was personal interview with the CEO, the president, the vice president or business owner.
They found that 94 per cent of businesses believed the financial contribution to political campaigns to be a corrupt practice, but 15.8 per cent of companies seek compensation when they finance political campaigns, reports newspaper El Tiempo. The poor quality of the electoral process and a lack of transparency in financing political campaigns are factors that employers perceived as posing serious corruption problems.
The study showed that the 151 businesses that donated money to political campaigns in 2006-2007, said they supported mainly mayoral candidates (27.8 percent) and municipal councils (23.3 per cent).
Only 56 per cent of companies recorded the contributions made, and of that percentage, only 51.4 per cent ensured that the recipient made a proper recording of the amount received.
According to the study, those companies that donated to political campaigns preferred to do so in kind. However, researcher Elizabeth Ungar said, donations in kind rather than cash are difficult to control and therefore generate inequality.
The study also found that finance companies do not follow company policy but allow the decision to donate is made by the owner or manager in a personal capacity, reported newspaper El Espectador.
Congressman Franklin Legro, who attended the presentation of the report, insisted that in order to avoid irregularities, the financing of campaigns should be 100% state-run, and that a fund for political campaigning should be created.