Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 05:40:35 AM EST
One of the successes of dKos and our other colleagues in the US has been fund-raising for candidates, choosing and backing politicians running for office who would have been ignored by the official Democratic Party. The near-win of Paul Hackett in Ohio yesterday is perfect example.
This is possible because any US citizen is permitted to donate to campaigns. Due to the nature of the EU, it does not seem that we can do the same at the national or EU level. While the amounts of money involved in most European elections are smaller than in the US, fund-raising is still an important activity for parties in Ireland and the UK and I assume in other states.
I can only easily find detailed information on the rules for donations for two of the member states: the UK and Ireland. In both the following quote seems to apply to foreign donations:
A political party or an accounting unit must not accept a donation, of any value, from an individual (other than an Irish citizen) who resides outside of the island of Ireland.
Neither must a donation, of any value, be accepted from a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons which does not keep an office in the island of Ireland from which at least one of its principal activities is directed.
Note the last paragraph. The best information I've found on the UK situation is these proposals, which allow any company with an office in the UK and registered in the EU to make donations. There seems to be a significant disparity between companies and EU citizens there. I'm not sure what constitutes a "principal activity" in the Irish case.
In Ireland, similar rules apply to "third parties", any individual or organisation involved in political action. Any direct funding seems out of the question.
Are hassling the media and harassing our representatives the only two levers of power available to us in Europe? Is this a good thing?