Holding the powerful to account for the common good
Political integrity means exercising political power consistently in the public interest, independent from private interests, and not using power to maintain the office holder’s own wealth and position.
Understandings of ‘public interest’ are ever evolving and at times hotly debated. What is 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.
- That all stakeholders have inclusive, open and meaningful opportunities to equally influence decision-making.
- Political decisions and power holders are subject to scrutiny by the public and institutional checks and face 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 position for private gain.
- Gross conflicts of interest, where elected politicians, their families or cronies hold substantial business interests.
- The abuse of state resources, such as embezzling or investing in unnecessary projects right before election campaigns.
- “Godfathers” or businesses bankroll political candidates to turn them into their clients.
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 combine 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
How corruption impacts political integrity
Political integrity means exercising political power consistently in the public interest. However, defining exactly what constitutes the public interest is both difficult and…
A common factor has underpinned mass protests in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon over the past two months: outrage over corruption and financial mismanagement by governments.
"Fake news" has become a major threat to public trust in democracy and news media outlets over the past years. The fight against corruption is also affected.
The Corruption Perceptions Index scores 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.
Global Corruption Barometer: Middle East and North Africa 2019 - Citizens' Views and Opinions of Corruption
People have been voicing their anger at the corruption they see and experience in their daily lives: from the highest levels of government to accessing basic public services.
Global Corruption Barometer: Latin America and the Caribbean 2019 - Citizens' Views and Opinions of Corruption
Most citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean think their governments are not doing enough to tackle corruption and that corruption levels have increased in the past 12 months…
This survey of 47,000 citizens in 35 countries shows that the range of corruption challenges that African citizens face is complex and multifaceted, requiring fundamental and…
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