Congressional midterm election spending will likely hit a record $5 billion. But the spending masks the main problem with US campaign financing: who gives the money and what they may get in return.
Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie said Australia is one of the few countries in the world to accept foreign political donations. Is that true?
Political funding in Australia is governed by different rules for state (some of which do not require disclosure) and federal governments. And both levels suffer significant weaknesses.
Unlike similar democracies, Australia neither limits political donations nor campaign expenditure by political parties at the federal level.
Our political donations disclosure regime is so opaque, we don’t really know who's paying how much and what they get in return. But the lengths players go to hide donations gives cause for suspicion.