Donations regarding campaign finance laws discussed
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 26In order to ensure the transparency of political financing, the Financial Monitoring Service section of the Chamber of Control published information pertaining to donations made to political parties on June 23.
Through the statement made by the department, the Financial Monitoring Service is carrying out its mandated monitoring function to study the legality of the donations.
“The initial stage of the monitoring activities has revealed a category of donation that requires additional inquiry. To further study this, the Financial Monitoring Service will carry out measures prescribed by the law, including the interviewing procedure,” This includes monitoring service reports, and providing concrete details on which political parties’ donations might be questionable. The list contains 32 “doubtful” donations and only 8 of them are related to the ruling party.
Based on the information uploaded by the monitoring department, the United National Movement still remains as the wealthiest party in Georgia receiving 1.74 million GEL in financial donations from 73 individuals.
It should be pointed out that the most significant sums were donated by current or former executors of several companies operating within the country, including Madneuli.
The National Movement is followed by the opposition Georgian Dream coalition which received 1. 17 million GEL in donor money. The greater part of donors, unlike the National Movement, donated less than 100 GEL and many of them an amount ranging from 1 to 50 GEL.
As for the other political parties, the parliamentary minority Christian-Democratic movement received 50, 000 GEL in donations from seven individuals; the non-parliamentary opposition New Rights 116, 451 GEL; Free Georgia led by Kakha Kukava 216, 819 GEL hailing from nine individuals.
(Note: Six donations from Free Georgia are on the above-mentioned list via the Chamber of Control and are scheduled to be rechecked)
According to Levan Vepkhvadze, one of the leaders of the Christian-Democratic Movement, the National Movement’s donations must also be rechecked (interview for For.ge). He stated that the donors of the ruling party might be divided into two groups: Donors who are the representatives of various companies, leaving open the possibility that the company's financial recourses are being used (legal entities are prohibited from carrying out any kind of donation), and those who have been detained earlier. “After detention they were fined and released. However, they paid less for the state budget and have become the donors of the National Movement,” Vepkhvadze said.
Such doubt has also been voiced by political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze, who has pointed out that those people have been “tax payers for the ruling party since the period they were released.”
Representative of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Tatuli Todua, told The Messenger that there are some cases which really raise doubts, however such issues should be deeply studied by the relevant institutions.
“The Madneuli issue and donating money from former detainees have been pushed forward by media outlets. Of course when several high-level employees of one and the same company donate a serious sum of money to one political group it creates doubts. Based on the law, in cases where there are several donors from one and the same company, the total donated sum must not be over 500, 000 GEL. The media speculated that the total sum donated by several employees of Madneuli consisted of 240, 000 GEL, thus there is no violation of the law,” Todua said, adding that the law does not prohibit former detainees from donating money. “However, when a person was detained during the ruling period of the National Movement and then he donates money to the party, is a bit suspicious.”