GEO

Political Parties’ Millions of Uncertain Origin

14 March, 2012

The origins are unknown for the 38% (2 278 442 GEL) of the United National Movement’s total income and for the 6% (53 289 GEL) of the Christian-Democratic Movement’s income. Such kind of conclusion stems from analysis of the financial declarations submitted by these parties to the Chamber of Control in 2011. The aforementioned fact endangers the principles of transparency and accountability of political finance, as well as ignores the interest of society towards the issue.

Even though the single form for the political parties’ annual reports did not exist until the end of 2011, and parties enjoyed absolute freedom in the matter, none of the financial reports of any party have included such undefined types of income, and their origin was always specified in the years of 2007-2010.  

In the end of 2011 the Chamber of Control of Georgia introduced special forms for political parties to provide financial declarations. These forms are quite convenient, data is divided into categories and all parties fill out the similar forms. Consequently, the analysis of the information has become simpler.  

However, some problems still remain. We consider the usage of the “Other” category to be the major flaw. In case of an income, graph which consists of 14 types of incomes, in addition uses the “Other Income” category. 

In 2011 two parties have indicated quite large sums as “Other Income”, which means that a large portion of these parties’ income is of an unknown origin. 

In 2011 political unions were able to get income from the following sources:

  • Membership fees;
  • Donations from natural persons or legal entities;
  • Income from public events (not above 30 000 GEL)
  • Getting income (without any restrictions or ceiling) in ways which do not change party’s character as a non-profit legal entity, specifically: production and distribution of party’s symbols, gaining funds from lectures, exhibitions and other similar events, getting income from publishing for the purposes of party statute and gaining funds from other activities.

Even though there was no ceiling for the funds gained from other activities, as mentioned above, up to 2011 all parties indicated their income very specifically without using the “Other” category. Therefore, occurrence of undefined money of political parties can be considered as a back step in terms of transparency and accountability. 

In order to eliminate abovementioned problems, the Chamber of Control of Georgia should consider the following recommendations:

  • In the declaration forms the Chamber of Control should mention as many types of income as possible, including those categories which were indicated in parties’ reports during the last years;
  • When using the “Other” category, it should become necessary to indicate specific income sources. If specific funds do not meet conditions to be included in the aforementioned types of income, sources of these funds should be noted in the declaration form.
  • In order to maximize the transparency, political parties should be requested to provide the details for the “Other Income”.

In addition, acknowledging the state’s effort to introduce the high standards of transparency and accountability regarding political parties’ activities, we urge the ruling party and the “Christian-Democratic Movement” to publicize the detailed information on the origins of their “Other Income”.

Home page image by K@ja on flickr

Author: Irine Urushidze, Levan Natroshvili
elections