As a rule, the district organisations of the parties represented in Parliament comply well with the funding legislation. However, the National Audit Office also found inadequacies and unlawful procedures when examining the disclosures of so-called small parties.
Each year, the National Audit Office of Finland (NAOF) audits political party funding and the government subsidies granted to political parties, i.e. party subsidies. In 2019, the NAOF audited the funding of altogether 31 district organisations of political parties represented in Parliament and so-called small parties. The term ‘small party’ refers to such political parties entered in the party register that did not have any MPs at the time of the audit. The NAOF also oversaw the government subsidies granted for political activities, i.e. party subsidies, by examining the accounts and agreement procedures related to them.
As a rule, parties comply well with the funding legislation. However, this time, when auditing small parties, the NAOF found numerous considerations on which no statutory disclosures had been submitted. Such considerations included, for example, a considerable bequest and support formed by a forgiven debt. The NAOF also discovered cases where the annual maximum laid down in law had been exceeded. In addition, the rent collected for office premises does not always seem to correspond to the market price.
After the audits, political parties have reported several contributions to the political party funding register maintained by the NAOF. This has improved the transparency of political party funding. For reasons of clarity, the NAOF has also recommended that the parties should report various advertising revenues and MP’s contributions to the system. In 2019, the number of such disclosures filed was higher than before.
The NAOF examined the overseen entities’ political party funding and accounting for a maximum period of 2011–2019. As in previous years, there is still room for improvement in the accounting of the overseen entities and in the work of their authorised auditors.
The NAOF will continue to conduct audits of political party funding in the autumn of 2020 by auditing again all the parties represented in Parliament. These parties were previously audited in 2018.