Desember 12, 2023

Political Volunteers Around Grey Area

Political Volunteers supporting regional heads winning move freely in grey area of election regulation. Rule makers are urged to immediately address this regulatory stuttering.

Legal vacuum is utilized completely well by the voluntary association of political backers of regional head winning. A bunch of young people initiated Teman Ahok (Friends of Ahok) to support the nomination of incumbent governor of Jakarta. This movement is then followed by other voluntary associations: Kawan Adhyaksa (Friends of Adhyaksa), Pendukung Yusril (Yusril Supporters), Sahabat Djarot (Friends of Djarot), Sahabat Sandiaga Uno (Friends of Sandiaga Uno), and Suka Haji Lulung (Like Haji Lulung).

These volunteer associations then move freely to gather support in the framework of winning the candidate. They mobilize masses. As a consequence, they can not escape from the need to consolidate the political costs-financial mobilization activities for logistical purposes ranging from the installation of the attributes, the spread of props, to other political costs.

Volunteers as shy Super PACs

Because volunteers support candidate and mobilize finance, they are then similarly called to the Political Action Committee (PAC) or Super PAC in the US. However, in Indonesia, they move shyly.

“Friends of Ahok and other volunteers are PAC or Super PAC that are still shy and careful in doing their activities,” said Ericssen-a political observer of American, Indonesian, and Electoral politics when contacted (21/6).

PAC and Super PAC are political committees formed freely by anyone, ranging from businesses, trade unions, lobbying firm or nominating candidates. PAC*s formation goals are generally to win the supported candidates and support certain political issues. “In Indonesia, they can be categorized as a successful campaign team,” said Ericssen.

The difference is PAC can raise up to $ 5,000 from any party and then give it to the supported candidates, while there is no limit to the Super PAC. PAC can give directly to the account of the candidate and coordinate directly with the campaign team to discuss political strategy. On the other hand, Super PAC is independent and prohibited from providing any form of direct contributions to candidates.

In the US, PAC and Super PAC do activities long before the official campaign stage, have a clear regulation. In addition, campaign fundraise regulations are also recorded well.

Fund Transparency

The absence of regulation in Indonesia has made the volunteer movement a place for investors in tiring political industry to regulate transparency and campaign funds of political parties. “Volunteers can be a new arena where the oligarchs invest their capital and disguise their interests,” said Heroik M. Pratama, a researcher at the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) at his office (24/6).

These financiers suspicion then as if confirmed. Unclear regulation is starting to be used by interested parties. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is ready to issue a warrant for an investigation of allegations of flow of funds from Jakarta Bay reclamation project developer to a volunteer association supporting incumbent governor of DKI Jakarta.

Heroik thinks that volunteer management is very urgent, especially about fund transparency. This setting is certainly necessary to prevent troubled funds. It is important that there are no parties of interests capitalize the group for personal gain. “Volunteers of winning candidate move before campaign stage begins should be organized into a formal regulation, especially concerning fundraising,” he said.

Setting design

Settings must move from firm demarcations: partisan or non-partisan. If a group is involved in winning candidate, this group must participate in the regulation governing the campaign team or a successful team.

In the context of the 2017 elections, the volunteers have been moving like a winning team candidates. Heroik even refers to them as the third political party practices that are common in democratic countries. These organizations can affect the outcome of the election, but these are neither the candidates nor political parties participating the election.

“Yes they manage funds, nominate the candidates, connected, coordinated, communicated, institutionalized. They actually do political works. They are a success team, “said Titi Anggraini, Executive Director of Perludem.

Because it is the same as success team, then they (associations of volunteers) need to set appropriate funding and campaign teams. Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) recommends limiting the number of their acceptance of donations, funding from prohibited sources, as well as sanctions and audit mechanisms. “Adjusted to current campaign fund arrangements,” said Donal Fariz, Coordinator of Political Corruption Division of ICW, at a press conference in Kalibata, South Jakarta (24/6).

He urged prospective candidates* obligation to list their supporting teams. The volunteer groups should be registered as part of the supporters of candidates. Volunteer groups make financial reports which record revenues and expenditures since it is formed and started their financial activities. The financial statements are later handed over to prospective candidates as one document registration requirements to become a candidate participating in the election.

“Future prospective candidates are to submit financial reports that have been incorporated to KPU once they register as a candidate contesting in the election to be audited by Public Accounting Firm,” said Donal.

Not only that, the group of volunteers who are currently active in taking action to support and raise public funds are also supposed to take initiative to open the financial statements to the public. If they do not open up their flow of finances, they are just like political parties that are not courageous enough to be transparent because they hide the oligarchs* agenda.


Translated by SL