Aubry: Move ahead with campaign finance reform legislation

Aubry: Move ahead with campaign finance reform legislation
Matt Aubry, Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG).

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A governance reformer said yesterday that with election fever heating up, the government should now move ahead with campaign finance legislation.

Matt Aubry, the Organization for Responsible Governance’s executive director, said: “Campaign finance laws help to level the playing field. It helps to standardize and equalize the process. It creates a better space for citizens to be involved and not just vote someone out or who they saw the most ads for. They can better look at who is proposing solutions they can believe in.”

According to Aubry, campaign finance reform will not only ensure a more equitable system but help to improve the perception of the system itself.

He noted that the Organization of American States has previously recommended the government implement a framework for financing political parties; prohibit anonymous donations or international donors from giving money to campaigns; and create a mechanism to oversee the flow of money within campaigns.

Campaign finance reform was an election promise of the Minnis administration leading up to the 2017 election.

Attorney General Carl Bethel said last month that campaign finance legislation is still expected to be introduced in Parliament.

Political parties would be required to provide proper accounting of their campaign donations. Bethel previously revealed that a draft campaign finance bill proposes a campaign donation exceeding $1,000 must be declared; every individual campaign and political party campaign will be required to have a finance officer; and candidates would have to declare to a parliamentary commissioner and be audited by an independent auditor.

Aubry said yesterday: “If the legislation is in draft, this is a key time to present it and get more consultation. Now is the time to push this piece of legislation forward to debate it, pass it and have it enacted.”

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