EU criticizes US groups on transparency

EU criticizes US groups on transparency

The Council of Europe has issued a report that is critical of politically active non-profit groups in the United States and recommended an increased transparency in political campaign financing in the country where the next presidential election will be held Nov. 6.

These groups are technically known by as 501(c) organizations because of their ability to hide their donors, the report stated. The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), which was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor states’ compliance with the organization’s anti-corruption standards, reported that U.S. federal election campaign regulation of the flow of “hard money” deserves “much praise” for its transparency.

The report also called for further transparency of political funding by the 501(c) organizations, which may, under certain conditions, be used as vehicles to “circumvent the rules on public disclosure of donations for political campaigning.”

The report stressed that the potential use of such organizations as “vehicles to escape public transparency for political financing” (“soft money”) of candidates “appears to be an increasing phenomenon along with the general rise in the total election campaign spending in all federal elections.”