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Sweden requires local, municipal, and national parties to disclose their incomes. They do not need to disclose their spending. Failure to disclose is sanctioned with monetary fines.

Anonymous donations are capped at SEK 2,325 (about US$145) per anonymous donor, and any amount that exceeds that amount must be returned to the donor or (when not possible) relinquished to the Swedish state.  

 Receiving foreign donations intended as propaganda is a crime, but receiving donations from foreign entities that are not to be used for propaganda is not criminalized.

 Advertisements with a political message may be limited to non-parties during election periods.

 The Swedish government has undertaken educational efforts to counter misinformation and influence campaigns.

I. Legislation on Domestic and Foreign Campaign Contributions

A. Act on Transparency in Political Party Financing (Political Income Disclosure Act)

Since April 1, 2018, all Swedish political parties (local, municipal, and national) have been required to disclose the origin of their income to the Kammarkollegiet, Sweden’s Legal, Financial, and Administrative Services Agency, pursuant to the Act on Transparency in Political Party Financing.[1] Between 2014 and 2018, political parties were only required to disclose their incomes if they were represented in the Swedish Parliament or the European Parliament.[2] Prior to 2014 political parties were not required to disclose their income or finance.   

The finance reports for 2018 were required to be filed with the Kammarkollegiet no later than July 1, 2019.[3] The Kammarkollegiet must make the reports public, except for information on a private individual’s contributions.[4] Failure to disclose the information as mandated is punishable with a fine of up to SEK 100,000 (about US$10,600),[5] which is paid to the state.[6]

The purpose of the Act is to ”protect the public’s knowledge of how parties, representatives of public assemblies, and alternates for such representatives are financing their activities.”[7]

The following must be disclosed:[8]

  1. support received in accordance with the Act on State Support for Political Parties (1972:625),
  2. support received in accordance with the Act on State support for Parliamentary Women Organizations (2010:473),
  3. support received in accordance with the Act on Support for the Party Groups for the Parliamentary Members’ Work in Parliament (2016:1109)
  4. party support that is paid to the party in accordance with 4 ch. 29 and 30 §§ Municipal Act (2017:725),
  5. state and municipal support for a youth organization,
  6. member fees,
  7. income from sales and lotteries,
  8. income from the collection of cash,
  9. contributions from private individuals, corporations, associations, and other associations, including foundations and funds, and
  10. other income.[9]

Although the Act was not introduced until 2014, and not expanded until 2018, the idea of requiring political parties to disclose their income and expenses is not new in Sweden; discussions about including such a requirement were underway already in the 1950s.[10]

B. Prohibition on Anonymous Donations

As part of the law that increased the oversight of political parties’ financial affairs, Parliament also adopted a prohibition on all donations that exceed 0.05 of the prisbasbelopp (price index amount),[11] currently SEK 2,325 (about US$245) and SEK 2,275 (about US$240) in 2018.[12] Prior to the adoption of the prohibition parties were only required to disclose donations that exceeded SEK 22,400 (about US$2,360).[13] Any donation received that exceeds the capped amount must be returned to the donor.[14] If that is not possible, the extra amount exceeding SEK 2,275 should be transferred to the Kammarkollegiet.[15] An itemization of all anonymous donations must be made, even if they do not exceed 0.05 prisbasbelopp.[16]

The public versions of the income declarations do not include information on specific individual donors.[17] Thus, despite the cap on anonymous donations, private citizens do not have access to information on who specifically provided donations. However, in 2014 public media reported on some of the political party’s income, and included information that the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) had received a private donation from its Chairman of SEK 133,000 (about US$14,000).[18] Reportedly, under that party’s bylaws political representatives must pay the political party all compensation that they receive in relation to their position that exceed SEK 28,000 (about US$3,000).[19] Information on how the political party compensates its employees and representatives is not included in the disclosure requirements.[20] The largest share of most parties’ income is the state grant that the parties receive, based on how successful they are in the last two elections.[21]

C. Prohibition on Bribes

Swedish law prohibits political figures from giving or receiving bribes.[22] Both crimes are sanctioned with monetary fines or imprisonment of up to two years depending on the severity of the crime.[23] Both domestic and foreign bribes are prohibited.[24]

Generally, a gift to a politician whose political views one shares is not considered a bribe, unless the gift can be tied to a specific political action.[25]  

D. Regulation of Foreign Contributions to Political Campaigns

Foreign contributions to political campaigns are not explicitly criminalized or forbidden in Sweden. However, depending on the intent of the donation, the contribution may be prohibited.[26]

Historically making a foreign contribution with the intent to influence politics or public opinion was a crime in Sweden.[27] The crime, known as tagande av utländskt understöd (receiving foreign support), was abolished in 1976 but reintroduced a few years later in a more limited wording.[28] The crime now requires the person offering the monetary or material support to be a foreigner acting on behalf of, or in the interest of, a foreign government and that the recipient has the intent to disseminate propaganda in Sweden.[29]

The Council of Europe has suggested that Sweden should criminalize foreign donations to campaigns.[30] There currently is no such initiative pending in the Swedish parliament.

The Nordic Council has also discussed harmonizing campaign contribution laws across the Nordic states (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) following Iceland’s adoption of a prohibition on foreign donations to political parties in 1978.[31] However, no final suggestion has been made. Sweden is currently the only Nordic country with no explicit prohibition on foreign donations.[32]

E. Political Advertisement Regulation

Swedish law requires political parties and others to apply for a permit before displaying political advertisement on public roads, and such permits are typically only granted during election campaign periods.[33]

The Swedish TV and Radio Act does not prohibit political advertisements on television for non-public broadcasters.[34] TV4, the only Swedish nonpublic broadcaster, has adopted its own rules on political advertisements broadcast by them.[35] The rules do not explicitly exclude any foreign contributors from purchasing political advertising.[36] However, during the most recent election to the European Parliament (three weeks prior to the May 26, 2019, vote) only political parties and unions were allowed to advertise political messages.[37]

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II. Government Education Efforts to Counter Misinformation

To combat misinformation, Sweden has worked to increase the information literacy of its citizens. The Civil Contingencies Agency was specifically tasked with increasing awareness among Swedish residents of the threats associated with misinformation and influence campaigns.[38]  One of the Agency responses was the publication of Countering Information Influence Activities: A Handbook for Communicators.[39] This is intended to serve as a “manual describing the principles and methods of identifying, understanding, and countering information influence activities,” specifically information campaigns “deployed covertly and deceptively by foreign powers to undermine critical democratic processes, control public dialogue, and influence decision making.”[40]

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Elin Hofverberg
Foreign Law Specialist
August 2019


[1] 3 & 24 §§ Lag om insyn i finansiering av partier [Act on Transparency in Political Party Financing] (SFS 2018:90), https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/lag-201890-om-insyn-i-finansiering-av-partier_sfs-2018-90, archived at https://perma.cc/65GE-4BB4;  Redovisa intäkter, Kammarkollegiet (May 13, 2019), https://www.kammarkollegiet.se/vara-tjanster/partiinsyn/redovisa-intakter (last visited June 12, 2019), archived at https://perma.cc/H2SW-V5TA; Proposition [Prop.] 2017/18:55 Ökad insyn i partiers finansiering –ett utbyggt regelverk [Increase Insight into Political Party Finance – an Expanded Framework], https://www.regeringen.se/4adfe9/contentassets/2e899e8fc83c4672b5 de0d8e6e12750f/okad-insyn-i-partiers-finansiering--ett-utbyggt-regelverk-prop.-20171855, archived at https://perma.cc/C8NF-ADNW; Statens Offentliga Utredningar [SOU] 2016:74, Ökad insyn i partiers finansiering – ett utbyggt regelverk [Increased Transparency of Political Party Financing – An Expanded Regulatory Framework], https://data.riksdagen.se/fil/0E890E8C-0BC4-4E55-8258-DABB8DF8217C, archived at https://perma.cc/VXR5-4RJV.

[2] 3 § Lag om insyn i finansiering av partier [Act on Transparency in Political Party Financing] (SFS 2014:105)- https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/lag-2014105-om-insyn-i-finansiering-av-partier_sfs-2014-105, archived at https://perma.cc/62H3-KFBP; Figures for 2014 are available at Hämta ut redovisade intäkter för politiska partier, Kammarkollegiet, https://www.kammar kollegiet.se/vara-tjanster/partiinsyn/hamta-ut-redovisade-intakter/hamta-ut-redovisade-intakter-for-politiska-partier, archived at https://perma.cc/P9Q8-V4K2.

[3] 24 § Lag om insyn i finansiering av partier.

[4] Id. 27 §.

[5] Id. 32-33 §§.

[6] Id. 35 §.

[7] Id. 1 §.

[8] Id. 11 §.

[9] Id. (all translations by author).

[10] Statens Offentliga Utredningar [SOU] [Government Report Series] 1951:56 Om offentlig redovisning av den politiska propagandans finansiering: Partifinansieringssakkunnigas betänkande [About Public Accounting of Political Propaganda Financing: The Political Party Financing Expert Report], https://lagen.nu/sou/1951:56, archived at https://perma.cc/3DCQ-W9E5.

[11] Id. 9 § Lag om insyn i finansiering av partier.

[12] Prisbasbelopp was SEK 45,500 for 2018 and is SEK 46,500 for 2019. Prisbasbelopp för 2019 fastställt, Regeringen (Sept. 6, 2018), https://www.regeringen.se/artiklar/2018/09/prisbasbelopp-for-2019-faststallt/, archived at https://perma.cc/FT6F-YCLR; 2 kap. 6 & 7 §§ Socialförsäkringsbalk [Social Insurance Code] (SFS 2010:110), https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/ socialforsakringsbalk-2010110_sfs-2010-110, archived at https://perma.cc/3KCJ-P78B.

[13] SOU 2016:74, supra note 1.

[14] 10 § Lag om insyn i finansiering av partier.

[15] Id.

[16] 19 § Lag om insyn i finansiering av partier.

[18] Marit Sundberg, Fidgetspinners och lotterier – så får partierna in pengar till partikassan, SVT (Apr. 14, 2018), https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/fidgetspinners-och-lotterier-sa-havar-partierna-in-pengar-till-partikassan, archived at https://perma.cc/AG84-F8YZ.

[19] Marit Sundberg & Roger Jansson, Här är alla intäkter som partierna redovisat till Kammarkollegiet, SVT (Apr. 14, 2018), https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/har-ar-alla-intakter-som-partierna-redovisat-till-kammarkollegiet, archived at https://perma.cc/3Q3C-578S.

[20] See Lag om insyn i finansiering av partier.

[21] Lagen om statligt stöd till politiska partier [Act on State Support for Political Parties] (SFS 1972:625), https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/lag-1972625-om-statligt-stod-till-politiska_sfs-1972-625, archived at https://perma.cc/ENE7-JXEH.

[22] 10 kap. 5a, 5b § Brottsbalken [BrB] [Criminal Code], https://data.riksdagen.se/fil/4C5B3F7A-25BD-4680-B5CC-0183760EABEE, archived at https://perma.cc/3GFE-FRZY

[23] 10. kap. 5a & 5b §§ BrB.

[24] Id.

[25] SOU 2016:74, supra note 1, at 121-22.  For example, following the Swedish EU election campaign, EU Parliamentarian Sara Skyttedal received a gift of a Chanel purse from a supporter, following accusations from another candidate that she carried such a purse when in fact she didn’t have one.  Gusten Holm, Skyttedal fick lyxig Gucciväska i gåva, EXPRESSEN (June 10, 2019), https://www.expressen.se/ nyheter/skyttedal-fick-lyxig-guccivaska-i-gava/, archived at https://perma.cc/5382-Q66B. Such a gift is not considered a bribe because it was not tied to a political action.  Compare SOU 2016:74, supra note 1, at 121-22.

[26] 19 kap. 13 § BrB.

[27] 8 kap. 10 § Strafflagen.

[28] Prop. 1979/80:176 om ändring i brottsbalken (om spioneri etc) [On Changes in the Criminal Code (About Spying etc.)], https://data.riksdagen.se/fil/4C5B3F7A-25BD-4680-B5CC-0183760EABEE, archived at https://perma.cc/J9NE-3XU6.   

[29] 19 kap. 13 § BrB; Prop. 1979/80:176, supra note 28; JuU 1981/82:8.   

[30] Prop. 2017/18:55, supra note 1.

[31] Prop. 1979/80:176, supra note 28, at 18.

[33] 6 § Lag med särskilda bestämmelser om gaturenhållning och skyltning [Act with Special Regulations on Street Cleaning and Displaying Signs](SFS 1998:814), https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-lagar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/lag-1998814-med-sarskilda-bestammelser-om_sfs-1998-814, archived at https://perma.cc/5YGS-5G92; Grästorps kommun, Regler för valaffischering (Dnr 282/2018), https://www.grastorp.se/download/18.fb17d54164abeff6e24c95c/1533631411527/Regler%20f%C3%B6r%20valaffischering.pdf , archived at https://perma.cc/D8UY-GUK8; Allmänna lokala ordningsföreskrifter i Stockholm, Stockhoms stad (Jan. 24, 2019), https://stad.stockholm/politik-och-demokrati/styrande-dokument/ allmanna-lokala-ordningsforeskrifter-i-stockholm/, archived at https://perma.cc/N9QM-KVPX.

[35] Regler för åsiktsannonsering i TV4, Bonnier Broadcasting (Mar. 29, 2018), https://www.bonnier broadcasting.com/om-oss/tv4/lagar-och-regler/regler-for-asiktsannonsering-i-tv4/, archived at https://perma.cc/B5BU-LUB6.

[36] Id.

[37] Id. § 7.

[38] Regleringsbrev för budgetåret 2019 avseende Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap [Apprioriations Letter for Budget Year 2019 Regarding the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency], ESV (Dec. 20, 2018), https://www.esv.se/statsliggaren/regleringsbrev/?RBID=19538, archived at https://perma.cc/H94V-RXV7

[39] Civil Contingencies Agency, Countering Information Influence Activities: A Handbook for Communicators (Mar. 2019), https://www.msb.se/RibData/Filer/pdf/28698.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/3L7W-YJ2Y

[40] Id. at 7.

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020