In the report submitted to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Monday 6 Cheshvan 5773, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira addresses political party funding and spending in the past year. The comptroller reports that a number of the political parties exceeded maximum spending regulations, including Likud.
The report addresses a dinner attended by 120 people, costing over 50,000 NIS, hosted in the Prime Minister’s Residence, amounting to 418 NIS per person. Shapira called this “An abnormal and unusual expenditure at the public’s expense.”
Likud officials responded to the state comptroller’s criticism saying the event was a “significant legitimate event that was essential towards coalition stability.”
Likud was also cited for spending 32,000 NIS a month for consultants without providing paperwork to the state comptroller detailing who and what.
Agudas Yisrael is also mentioned in the report for reimbursing for travel expenses to the tune of 37,550 NIS. What makes the expenditure problematic is the fact the person who was reimbursed is not a member of the faction and is not on the party payroll. Agudah was also cited for using branch offices to assist avreichim with matters pertaining to avoiding military service, providing an attorney who addressed their paperwork.
Labor Party: 90,000 NIS for travel and advisors for two MKs, without explaining the reason and detailing the trips.
NRP (Mafdal): Failed to file the party’s actual expenditures.
Balad: Failed to adequately document expenditures surrounding elections.
Eretz Yisrael Shelanu: Incomplete paperwork and expenditure documentation.
As such, party funds were cut as a fine. NRP and Balad lost 80,000 NIS each and Eretz Yisrael Shelanu 40,000 NIS.
Ta’al: Travel abroad was authorized, trips to arrange studies abroad for students attending university in Jordan.
Yisrael Beitenu: 19,000 NIS to fly a representative to Italy to sign an agreement.
Shapira explains “a good portion of state funding intended for ongoing party operations and towards maintaining contact with the public, which are basic principles of democracy, were in fact used to cover party election deficits”.
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz was cited for accepting two donations “amounting to thousands of NIS” in his personal bank account during his party leadership bid. He is cited for accepting illegal donation, forbidding cash donations. Mofaz was fined 28,000 NIS.
Mofaz responded with the following statement. “In fact, the donator is a well-known person who identified himself to bank officials prior to making the deposit so it was not a violation.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)