The Platform for transparent politics

We are seven journalists and computer scientists who jointly founded Lobbywatch Switzerland in July 2014. The aim of our non-profit association is to shed light on the Swiss Parliament in Berne. Because the rules of access for lobbyists to the Swiss Parliament and thus to the power centre of Switzerland allow a great lack of transparency.

This is how functions

Together we run a database that serves as a research tool for journalists and interested citizens. We also publish blog posts on our platform to reveal the involvement of National Councillors and Councillors of States with companies, associations and other organisations. The research tool can specifically searched by:

  • People
  • Parties
  • Industries
  • Lobbyists
  • Companies, associations and other organisations
  • Factor of influence

This is why we need Lobbywatch

Companies, associations and other organisations gain access in two ways to the Swiss Parliament:

Either company members, directors and board members form part of the National Council or the Council of States. Such conflicts of interests have to be reported to the Parliamentary Services. This list is not controlled and often incomplete and not up-dated.

Or: Organisations get their lobbyists a so called guest pass and obtain thus access to the Swiss Parliament. Each Member of the Swiss Parliament can grant access to two persons. Those persons have to register their name and at least one of their functions with the Parliamentary Services. This list of lobbyists is not controlled either. Many «guests» who are actually lobbyists, do not indicate their their activities and mandates. Moreover, Lobbywatch Switzerland also analyses the functions and activities of these exponents.

Additionally, not every organisation exerts equally strong influence on politics. Therefore, we analyse the organisational form and their position in the legislative process and calculate the factor of influence of companies and associations.

Both the Beobachter and the NZZ have already reported on this system.

Why you should back this project

The entire database Lobbywatch Switzerland and reporting of the first of many Commissions of the National Council were created entirely on voluntary basis. This team work resulted in the most comprehensive database on lobbyism in Switzerland with over 800 organisations and almost 4000 records. Our website with our blog is already online. In a next step, we would like to focus on the reporting of the next commissions in focus. In addition, we are constantly updating the database and would like to visualise our findings and the networks of politicians and lobbyists. To be able to do so, we need your enduring support. Via wemakeit, we hope to cover the cost of reporting and the continuous expansion of Lobbywatch Switzerland.

Reference points:

  • Data acquisition, processing and fact-checking for the coming year: CHF 4’000 
  • Implementation of data visualisations of the networks: CHF 5’000
  • Operational costs of the infrastructure for the coming year: CHF 1’000

The team behind

  • Thomas Angeli, Co-Chairman/Editorial
  • Sylke Gruhnwald, Fundraising
  • Otto Hostettler, Co-Chairman/Editorial
  • Nicole Krättli, Finances
  • Roland Kurmann, Technology
  • Bane Lovric, Technology
  • Rebecca Wyss, Editorial