Political finance

General

How are political parties and politicians funded in your jurisdiction?

The financing of political parties is divided between public and private financing, as provided by Law No. 26,215.

Public financing

There is a Permanent Party Fund administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, formed by:

  • the contribution established annually in the National Budget Law;
  • the money collected from the fines imposed on infringements of the Political Parties Financing Law and the Electoral Code;
  • the funds produced as a result of the liquidation of former political parties;
  • donations and other contributions to the state that have the purpose of financing political parties;
  • the refunds from political parties, confederations or other alliances; and
  • private contributions to the fund.

Twenty per cent of the fund is distributed equally between all the political parties; the remaining 80 per cent is distributed in accordance with the votes obtained in the last national deputies’ election, only if the political parties obtained over 1 per cent of the electoral roll. Regarding alliances, the funds are distributed in accordance with the agreement entered into by the political parties forming the alliance.

Political parties must allocate at least 20 per cent of these funds to finance training activities for public charges, education of future leaders and research. At least 30 per cent of this amount must be for activities involving people under the age of 30.

Private financing

Political parties may receive:

  • periodical contributions from their affiliates in accordance with the articles of incorporation of the political party;
  • donations from other individuals or entities; and
  • equity performance and other activities.
Registration of interests

Must parties and politicians register or otherwise declare their interests? What interests, other than travel, hospitality and gifts, must be declared?

There is no specific obligation for parties and politicians to declare their interests, but political parties must file annual financial statements and keep the following mandatory books: inventory; cash and cash equivalents; minutes; and journal ledger.

Contributions to political parties and officials

Are political contributions or other disbursements to parties and political officials limited or regulated? How?

Political parties cannot accept or receive, directly or indirectly:

  • anonymous contributions or donations;
  • contributions or donations from centralised or decentralised federal, provincial, municipal, binational or multilateral entities;
  • contributions or donations from concessionaires of public services or public works;
  • contributions or donations from individuals or legal entities involved in the gambling industry;
  • contributions or donations from foreign governments or entities;
  • contributions or donations from foreign individuals or legal entities without residence or address in the country;
  • contributions or donations from individuals obliged by their superiors or employers; or
  • contributions or donations from unions, or professionals’ or employers’ associations.

The same restrictions apply to private contributions to the Permanent Party Fund.

In addition, political parties cannot receive donations from legal entities of over 1 per cent of the permitted campaign expenditure per year, or over 2 per cent of the permitted campaign expenditure in the case of individuals.

In the first semester of each year, the National Electoral Chamber informs the political parties the limit of private contributions they may receive, and such information is published on their official website.

Sources of funding for political campaigns

Describe how political campaigns for legislative positions and executive offices are financed.

The financing of political campaigns comprises both public funds and private fundraising.

Public financing

In election years, the National Budget Law must establish different quotas depending on the positions that have to be elected (first and second round candidates in presidential elections, members of the Mercosur Parliament, senators and deputies). Analogous quotas must be established for the primary elections, equivalent to 50 per cent of the quotas for the general elections.

These funds must be distributed, assigning 50 per cent of the total amount in equal parts to each of the filed lists to compete; the remaining 50 per cent is distributed between the 24 districts, in accordance with the number of voters in each district, and in proportion to the votes obtained by the party in the last general election for the same position. In case of an alliance, the votes of each political party must be added. In case of a second round, the participants receive 30 per cent of the biggest campaign contribution made in the first round. If the party has not participated in prior elections, it will be equated to the party that has participated in the prior election and that obtains the lower contribution amount.

Political parties also receive a contribution for the printing of ballots for the equivalent of 1.5 ballots per voter registered in each district and each category.

Campaign advertising through the media (television and radio) is distributed exclusively by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, political parties are in charge of the funds for the production of the advertising.

Private financing

Only individuals, not legal entities, are entitled to contribute to financing a campaign. These contributions can be conducted by any means that allows the identification of the contributor. Private contributions cannot exceed the difference between the maximum campaign expenditure established by the law and the extraordinary campaign contribution for the political party or the alliance. A final report must be filed with the authorities in this regard.

Lobbyist participation in fundraising and electioneering

Describe whether registration as a lobbyist triggers any special restrictions or disclosure requirements with respect to candidate fundraising.

Legal entities of any type cannot finance political campaigns. There are no specific restrictions or disclosure requirements for individuals other than making the contribution by means that allow the identification of the contributor and comply with the restrictions outlined in question 19.

Independent expenditure and coordination

How is parallel political campaigning independent of a candidate or party regulated?

It is forbidden for third parties to cover the expenditure of campaign advertising. However, the treatment of parallel advertising or grass-roots campaigns has not been expressly settled. If there is evidence that the candidate or political party coordinated such campaign but omitted it from the report of expenditure to the authorities, the candidate or party may be penalised. The same applies in respect of social media, where it is more difficult to trace the source of the advertising and there is no specific regulation in this regard.