Holding the powerful to account for the common good
Political integrity means exercising political power consistently in the public interest, independently of private interests, and not using power to maintain the own wealth and position.
The understanding of ‘public interest’ is continually evolving and, at times, hotly debated. What remains clear, is that political integrity is only possible when safeguards exist throughout the political process:
- The process to elect, appoint, or select those who hold power is free from the undue influence of vested interests.
- All stakeholders have inclusive, open, and meaningful opportunities to equally influence decision-making.
- Political decisions and those holding power are subject to scrutiny by the public and institutional checks, with consequences for using power for private gain.
Undisclosed, unchecked, or undue influence over the powerful skews resources and policies away from the common good. It perpetuates inequality, undermines democracy, and deprives people of their human rights.
Political corruption is the manipulation of policies, institutions, rules of procedure, and decisions by political decision-makers to abuse their positions for private gain.
- Gross conflicts of interest, where elected politicians, their families, or associates hold substantial business interests.
- The misuse of state resources, such as embezzling or investing in unnecessary projects shortly before election campaigns.
- The influence of “Godfathers” or businesses supporting political candidates to turn them into their clients.
In each case, the unethical exploitation of political power for personal benefits undermines the integrity of democratic processes and erodes public trust in governance.
Do your representatives consistently put the common good before their own?
Around the world, we work to ensure elections are fair, political party financing and lobbying are free from undue influence, illicit interests do not capture politics, politicians aren’t compromised by conflicts of interest, and state resources are not abused for either political or personal gain.
Building political integrity requires context-specific, comprehensive systems that integrate measures to prevent political corruption.
Breaking it down
Curbing the influence of big money
- Opaque and uneven political financing;
- Abuse of public resources to buy or influence votes
- Transparent political appointments
- Redefining the terms of corporate political engagement
- What are politicians’ professional background—what are their proven vested interests
- Who influences their decisions and legislation?
- Fair and transparent allocation of public resources, inclusive access to public goods and services
- Robust checks and balances
- No unjustified immunities or privileges
- Campaign and Party Finance
- Conflicts of Interest
- Revolving Doors
Find out more about our work
With the gathering of world leaders for the 10th UNCAC Conference of States Parties, there’s no better time to take decisive action to stop corruption in its tracks.
The 2021 CPI shows that top-scoring countries’ complacency has been detrimental not only to global anti-corruption efforts but also to their own affairs.
Transparency International's new analysis examines the extent to which EU citizens think decision-makers exercise their power for the common good.
New EU survey reveals almost a third of people think corruption is getting worse in their country. A further 44% think it’s not getting any better.
Accountability, loading: A survey of open data for enhancing political integrity in the Western Balkans and Türkiye
This report underscores how open data can be used to uphold political integrity in the Western Balkans and Türkiye in political financing, law-making and resource allocation.
This study analyses political finance regimes in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Türkiye. It identifies regulatory and enforcement…
This submission provides recommendations to address challenges in enhancing the transparency of funding of candidates and political parties.
Strengthening Parliamentary Oversight: Key Findings and Recommendations from Multi-Country Assessments
An assessment of the strength of oversight mandate, practice and impact of parliaments in ten countries.
Assesses and tracks National Integrity Systems—ways to strengthen institutions and anti-corruption policies—in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
The Integrity Watch Project seeks to provide members of society with a series of online tools for the detection and prevention of political corruption in eight EU Member States.
Connecting citizen groups across 26 countries to build momentum for more responsive governments and stronger institutions to oversee them.
We're working on updating the integrity pact to better reflect the evolution of public contracting practices in the 21st century and calling for its consistent application on…
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Explore all priorities
- Asset recovery and the theft of public money
- Business integrity
- Climate crisis
- Defence and security
- Dirty money
- Extractive industries
- Foreign bribery enforcement
- Grand corruption
- Judiciary and law enforcement
- Land corruption
- Political integrity
- Public procurement
- Right to information
- Sustainable Development Goals