Liberal Citizen foundation creates tool to show parties' funding sources

Tarmo Jüristo.
Tarmo Jüristo. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Liberal Citizen foundation (SA Liberaalne Kodanik), or SALK for short, has published a tool that enables to look at the funding of Estonian political parties since 2013.

Tarmo Jüristo, head of SALK, said various interactive solutions have been worked on for several months, which help to create more clarity in society and highlight new perspectives. "So far, however, there have not been very many convenient digital tools to explore many interesting areas in detail," he said.

Now, SALK has built a digital tool, which allows people to look at different time periods and types of funding - donations, membership fees and state grants both together and separately. It is possible to delve into the specifics of one party in a shorter or longer period of time and compare the parties. The tool also allows the user to group donations by amount to see how many small donors each party has compared to large ones, or how important the contribution of individual large donors is compared to many small donors.

"By playing around with different indicators in the environment, we can also see the dynamics of the number of donors," Jüristo said. "As expected, the number of donors increases before the elections, and events also emerge against the background of stable cash flow, where entrepreneurs have supported the parties with larger sums for one reason or another. For example, the end of 2016 stands out, where a group of major entrepreneurs decided to support political parties because the support for the third child was increased. Similarly, the recent injection of money by startup founders into some parties is striking. In recent years, the party Isamaa has received the most financial donations, supported with a total of €3,828,885."

Over the years, several people who have paid large sums to Estonian politics stand out, such as Hillar Teder and Urmas Sõõrumaa. The Center Party has also been supported by, for example, Endel Siff and Ivar Vendelin. Parvel Pruunsild, Kaspar Kokk and Reet Roos stand out among the sponsors of Isamaa. However, alongside those already mentioned, Indrek Rahumaa and Vaino Kaldoja are the biggest donors to the Reform Party.

The tool is based on data from the Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) and will be updated quarterly when political parties provide the latest information to ERJK.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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