Quality of financial reporting by parties remains imperfect, “Promo-LEX”

The quality of financial reporting by political parties to the Central Election Commission (CEC) was imperfect in the first half of this year. The financial reporting model proposed by the CEC does not ensure full access to parties’ financial accounts. The lack of categories of costs and of report rubrics enable the rapporteurs to generalize the data, minimizing transparency of costs by categories. The CEC also tends to selectively treat the parties if they submit reports with delay, advantaging the ruling parties and disfavoring the extraparliamentary parties. The conclusions are contained in a report presented by the Association “Promo-LEX” in a roundtable meeting, IPN reports.

According to Cornelia Călin, finances analyst at “Promo-LEX”, about 12 million lei was estimated as not having been reported by parties, mainly as costs related to transport, trips, public events and other activities. At least four parties (Shor Party, Democratic Party, “Our Party” and Party “Platform Dignity and Truth”) didn’t report costs associated with the organization of events totaling about 9 million lei.

The Democratic Party, the Party of Socialists and the Shor Party in the promotional activities used the transfer of image from charitable foundations or limited liability companies that in their name contain names of politicians or are associated with these. At least 95 charitable activities were staged in their name, the non-reported costs being assessed at 2.4 million lei. “Promo-LEX” considers it is necessary to regulate the activity of the foundations that become involved in political activities and transfer imagine in favor of parties or party members.

It was also established that the CEC adopts preferential treatment in relation to particular parties. The Commission brings contravention procedures against some of the extraparliamentary parties for minor irregularities, but does not act in relation to ruling parties despite the existing conclusive evidence concerning the committed violations.

Igor Bucătaru, head of the analysis team of “Promo-LEX”, said the legislature in the period of reference made amendments that are deigned to improve the legal framework concerning the finances of parties. These will take effect on January 1, 2019 and include the changes made to the Law on Political Parties that refer to the capping of donations in cash and to the method of calculating public financing for parties under which the parties that put more women and young people on lists for single-member constituencies will be allocated by 5% more money.

“Promo-LEX” programs director Pavel Postica recommends the CEC to standardize its practices, especially as regards the financial reporting forms for election runners and outside the election campaign for parties. “The forms used in campaigns are much more detailed and e help to easier and more precisely identify the costs, especially for political advertising. We would like the CEC to have uniform methodologies for investigating eventual deviations. When we speak about allegations concerning non-transparent collection of donations, we would like to know if the CEC is notified. When it is notified, it must check the signatures to see if they were collected in accordance with the legal provisions. If violations are identified, it should notify the law enforcement agencies, etc. So, we want all these mechanisms to be standardized,” stated Pavel Postica. He recommended the parties to ensure greater transparency in the collection of dues and donations.

The state subsidies were the main source of financing for parties in the first half of this year. They came to about 20 million lei. These are followed by donations made by private individuals and membership dues, which each of these totaling approximately 13 million lei. In the first half of 2018, 38 parties of the 46 presented financial reports to the CEC. These parties represent 83% of the political organizations registered with the Public Services Agency.

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