Your main worry is that the wealthy use their money secretly to influence politics. You seem to trust that people will make the right decisions if they know enough about the financial flows between billionaires and politicians. We hope that our website creates such transparency – maybe you want to participate?
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
There are many ways to increase transparency about the power of money in politics, and maybe you’d like to participate. You can find below a number of initiatives that you can join to do so. This list is not exhaustive: we mainly have information for the US and Europe. If you know of an organization that fights to increase the transparency about the power of billionaires in politics in other countries, or though other means, please let us know we’ll be happy to add it.
INCREASE TRANSPARENCY IN CAMPAIGN FINANCING AND LOBBYING
Billionaires should be able to support their candidates freely and lobby for their interests, but you think it is important that such information is disclosed, so that citizens can pick their candidates knowing who financed their campaign and who is lobbying the elected representatives.
KEEP YOURSELF INFORMED ABOUT CAMPAIGN FINANCING
You can find relevant information on campaign financing in the US on the famous website OpenSecrets. Also, check this app, which makes your browser display any representative’s campaign account when you hover their name on any web page. Such information for other countries will soon be available on the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance website; they’re still working on it and you can even request that they research a statistic of your choice in the field of electoral justice. National teams of Transparency International have also been monitoring campaign financing : here are the results for a number of countries.
SUPPORT LOBBYING TRANSPARENCY
Alter-EU monitors and advocates lobbying transparency across the European Union. You can check their per-country campaigns and join the network to participate. If you want to get information about lobbies in Europe, you can find if on this website and for the US, check out the Lobbying page on Open Secrets.
INCREASE TRANSPARENCY ON MEDIA OWNERSHIP AND PROMOTE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA
It is legal in most countries for an individual or a corporation to own large shares of the media, and you’re OK with that. But you would like to know who owns what, so that you can get a perspective on the sort of information that the media brings to you, and you want to be able to recognize fake information from accurate source-based information. Media owned by the media moguls should also be balanced by alternative independent media, so that readers can pick where they get their sources from.
SUPPORT RESEARCH ON MEDIA INDEPENDENCE
Reporters without borders dedicated part of their website to media independence research, where you can access information about media financing worldwide. You can check it here, or download their report on oligarchs and the media. To support their research, donate here.
PROMOTE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA
The European Media Initiatives advocates for the independence of national media supervisors in the European Union. Those supervisors can play a large role in preventing independent media from disappearing altogether. This initiative was funded by European Alternatives, which you can join and to which you can donate. Also, check out this portal of alternative media – all the info you’ll find is produced by small-scale media independent of any sort of shareholder interest. And to be sure to detect media biases, you can follow those guidelines.
UNCOVER THE CORRUPT
Among all the ways billionaires can use to influence politics, some are illegal, such as corruption – good regulation is not enough if it isn’t enforced! If you want to prevent billionaires from buying politicians’ favors, here are a couple of things you can do :
Transparency International’s campaign ‘unmask the corrupt’ allows you can nominate people, administrations or organizations you think are corrupt. Those that got most votes will be brought to court by the organization. The 2016 campaign is over (winners are : Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali, Felix Bautista, US State of Delaware, FIFA, the Akhmad Kadyrov Foundation of Chechnya, Lebanon’s Political System, Ricardo Martinelli and Cronies, Petrobras and Viktor Yanukovych) . You can also contact one of their chapters if you are aware of a case of corruption.
SUPPORT RESEARCH AND ANTI CORRUPTION PROGRAMS
Transparency International and Anti-Corruption International, among others, provide information on corruption worldwide. They develop tools to measure corruption, what it costs society, and uncover new cases. Based on this research, they developed tools to fight corruption. You can support their action by donating.
JOIN A TEAM TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
Anti-Corruption International has thematic working groups – on health or development for instance, who develop tools specific to each area of interest and in which you can participate. You can also join their general programs or their national committees.
MONITOR YOUR REPRESENTATIVES (France)
Transparency international France put out resources you can access to get in touch with your representatives and make sure they don’t get corrupt. Those include letter models to incite your representatives to commit not to accept money against political favors and displaying information about their administration.
PROTECT WHISTLE-BLOWERS & SUPPORT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
If nobody spoke out to denounce the illegal practices of billionaires, regulations would be totally ineffective. For this information to be displayed we need whistle-blowers and journalists – here’s what you can do to help them expose the power of money in politics.
The Government Accountability Project is an organization protecting whistle-blowers in the US and advocating for better protection from the US government. You can donate here to support whistle-blower protection. You can also sign this petition to increase whistle-blower protection by the US government, or this one to protect whistle-blowers in Europe.
SUPPORT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
Investigative journalism allowed to uncover major corruption cases, as well as tax evasion. The International Consortium for Investigative Journalism is a team of journalists based all around the world that have been working on major cases such as the Panama Papers. You can donate to help them remain independent and conduct major investigations.