Abuse of state resources

Public officials, independent institutions and civil society promote good governance and counter corruption by addressing the abuse of state resources in elections

The misuse of state resources can be a major corruptive force in the electoral process, as it introduces or exacerbates power inequalities and gives unfair advantage to incumbents. Gaps in the law and insufficient enforcement limit the ability of many countries to address abuse of state resources, permitting it to become a lynchpin in cycles of systemic corruption. IFES partners with governing institutions, civil society and the media to disrupt this cycle through rigorous assessments of the environment enabling the abuse of state resources; monitoring and advocacy; and technical assistance on legal and regulatory reform.

The abuse of state resources in elections is a common but insidious feature of the global elections landscape. It reduces competition; erodes public trust in election outcomes; derails development, infrastructure and social welfare projects; and undermines the rule of law.

To support partners to tackle these thorny challenges, IFES has launched a series of new Abuse of State Resources training programs. Each program is targeted to specific partners in the ASR system, including civil society organizations, investigative journalists and civil servants. Each curriculum combines detailed lectures on the ASR framework with participatory discussions and exercises. The individual modules are highly customizable and can be used in person, virtually or in a hybrid setting.

Other practical tools include the Abuse of State Resources Research and Assessment Framework (access below), a detailed assessment methodology that measures the effectiveness of legal and regulatory frameworks governing the abuse of state resources and allows organizations to develop meaningful recommendations for reform that account for capacity, context and political will; design programs to mitigate ASR; and support local civil society actors or government agencies to address abuses. Vote for Free: A Global Guide for Citizen Monitoring of Campaign Finance outlines practical desk-based and in-person approaches CSOs can use to monitor abuse of state resources, particularly around elections.

This work falls under IFES' Strategic Outcome 2: Effective governing institutions are accountable to the people they serve.

Explore our resources linked here to learn more and get involved.


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