Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, May 04, 2015

Campaign financing

Textbook writers and other commentators often make a point of differences between British and U.S. elections: shorter campaigns in the UK, no nation-wide executive elections, and the ban on media advertising. It turns out there might be an important similarity to which we should pay attention.

Long Before British Vote, Financiers Weigh In
No political party in Europe has done more for hedge funds and bankers in recent years than the British Conservatives.

And the party has been well rewarded for it.

Hedge fund managers have been writing eye-popping checks to the Conservative Party before the British election on Thursday. And with no campaign finance limits for party donations, there is little to hold them back.

Michael Hintze
More than $2.3 million has come since last year from Michael Hintze, an Australian billionaire who lives in London, where he founded the hedge fund CQS. Michael Farmer, another hedge fund manager, has donated roughly $2.2 million over the same reporting period, and far more in the last decade. Stanley Fink, who once ran the Man Group… has donated $1.3 million…

Nearly 70 percent of the donations reported by the Conservative Party since the beginning of last year came from donors or groups that gave $100,000 or more… That compared with nearly 60 percent for Labour… with a large proportion of its large donations coming from labor unions. But the data is inherently flawed, since parties are not required to officially disclose their records of donors who give less than roughly $11,000 in a calendar year…

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