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
CPI 2021: Trouble at the top
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.
People see low political integrity throughout the European Union
Transparency International's new analysis examines the extent to which EU citizens think decision-makers exercise their power for the common good.
Global Corruption Barometer EU: People worried about unchecked abuses of power
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.
Powerful player, smaller bill: Risks of corruption in governments’ tax policies
There is risk of corruption in the process of designing and granting tax incentives, driven by powerful interest groups.
How OGP Members Can Counter Covert Foreign Political Finance
This policy brief explores how openness and oversight of political finance can help detect & address the use of covert foreign political influence.
Corruption Perceptions Index 2021
The Corruption Perceptions Index scores 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.
For the common good or private interests? People’s views of political integrity in the European Union
People in the EU perceive a widespread and systemic lack of political integrity.
The right incentives? The risks of undue influence in tax policy
The report illustrates the risk of corruption driven by powerful interest groups in the process of designing and granting tax incentives.
Ending impunity for grand corruption in the Western Balkans and Turkey
Assesses and tracks National Integrity Systems—ways to strengthen institutions and anti-corruption policies—in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
Integrity Watch Europe: Online tools for the fight against political corruption in Europe
The Integrity Watch Project seeks to provide law enforcement, citizens, civil society and journalists with a series of online tools for the detection and prevention of political…
Strengthening Accountability Networks Among Civil Society
Connecting citizen groups across 21 countries to build momentum for more responsive governments and stronger institutions to oversee them.
Press releases+ More
Guatemala: Attorney general’s reappointment threatens anti-corruption efforts and civic space
Transparency International - Initiative Madagascar and partners call for better transparency and management around COVID-19 emergency funding
Albania: Alarm over indications of personal data breach, election campaign violations
African Union Summit is an opportunity to make good on anti-corruption convention commitments
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