Head of OSCE election body concerned about U.S. Supreme Court ruling on election spending
WARSAW, 22 January 2010 - The director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, expressed concern today about Thursday's ruling by the United States Supreme Court effectively lifting limits for election spending by corporations and unions.
"The OSCE's election commitments are essentially about giving voters a genuine choice and giving candidates a fair chance," Lenarcic said.
"The ruling may affect both principles, in that it threatens to further marginalize candidates without strong financial backing or extensive personal resources, thereby in effect narrowing the political arena."
ODIHR has monitored several elections in the United States, and has consistently recommended strengthening campaign finance regulations. As a participating State of the OSCE, the United States has signed up to the Organization's election-related commitments included in the Copenhagen Document of 1990.
The Copenhagen Document stipulates that elections must be held under conditions which "ensure in practice the free expression of the opinion of the electors in the choice of their representatives" and "respect the right of citizens to seek political office or public office, individually or as representatives of political parties or organizations, without discrimination".