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Campaign financing: how to spend it like SDM and Pulse

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With the  hectic carnival like nature of quad during KSU elections many have wondered where both political organisations get their money from and how they use it.  Andrea Gonzi and Michelle Grech sift through Pulse and SDM’s financial records to show how an election campaign on quad can make you € 4,000 poorer.

Asking for Pulse and SDM’s bill for the KSU elections hasn’t always been a straightforward affair and it comes as a great surprise to not only be given an account of how much money was actually spent during the election week itself, but also be given a half yearly financial report by both parties. This gives the electorate a rare opportunity to see what goes behind the scenes in quad’s busiest time of the year.

At first glance it is crucial to point out that both reports are not audited therefore making it impossible to verify how accurate or factual the figures given actually are. Secondly, the half yearly report given to insiteronline by SDM does not contain a breakdown of expenses or income making it harder to form concrete conclusions however Insiteronline was allowed to glimpse the report during a meeting in person with SDM. Secondly, all of Pulse’s reports are significantly more detailed than SDM’s reports with their election breakdown being sent 3 days earlier than SDM’s.

With total half yearly revenues numbering to a princely *€20,586 and €11,493 for SDM and Pulse respectively, it serves as a testament of these two political organisations’ dominance over the political scene at Junior College and the University of Malta especially since the major source of income for both organisations being from activities and seminars. Pulse have made a revenue of  €9579.25 (83%) from the aforementioned alone. Sources of revenue such as sponsorship and advertising, a crucial source of income for many student organisatons, aren’t even given a mention within both financial reports.

Both organisations have spent roughly the same amount of money during the 2014 KSU election week totaling to *€4,000 and €3,662 for Pulse and SDM respectively. The biggest expenditure for both organisations being the set up of their stands at €1,250 (with another €575 to run the stand) and €2,112 respectively – making Pulse’s stand significantly cheaper than SDM’s.

On the otherhand Pulse have invested a lot of their money on printing material and social media totaling to €1,325 as compared to SDM’s expense of €550 on printing. Pulse have also raked up a higher bill when it comes to freebies and food totaling to €775 against SDM’s given figure of €550. Interestingly both organisations have spent exactly the same amount (€450) on T-shirts during this elections campaign.

* Pulse’s half yearly report dates from May 2013 to January 2014 whilst SDM’s dates to January 2014-April 2014

*Both organisations are also donated a lot of items to be given out or used during the election campaign

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