Comptroller: Gabbay, Herzog overspent on campaign

The maximum spending limit for the candidates was NIS 292,568, which was based on Labor’s membership at the time of 52,504 eligible voters.

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June 26, 2018 16:08
1 minute read.
The Knesset's plenum

The Knesset's plenum. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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State Comptroller Joseph Shapira fined Labor leader Avi Gabbay, his predecessor Isaac Herzog, and former MK Erel Margalit large sums for overspending in the July 2017 Labor Party leadership race.

All three are independently wealthy from businesses that they had before entering politics, so they relied on their own money to fund their campaigns, spending well above the maximum they were permitted.

The maximum spending limit for each candidate was NIS 292,568 – based on Labor’s membership at the time of 52,504 eligible voters.

Gabbay spent NIS 1,976,169 – more than six times the maximum allowed. Shapira fined him NIS 90,000.

Herzog spent NIS 1,571,104 – more than five times the maximum – which resulted in a NIS 60,000 fine from Shapira.

Margalit spent NIS 1,200,798, about four times the maximum; He was fined 30,000.

Another candidate, former OC Northern Command Amiram Levin, was fined NIS 20,000 because he refused to hand over information to the comptroller, claiming he didn’t have to because he quit the race before the election.

Other candidates, including MKs Amir Peretz and Omer Bar-Lev, were given a clean bill of campaigning by Shapira and were not fined.

A Labor Party spokeswoman said that Gabbay and the other candidates had received the report and would learn its lessons and correct their mistakes ahead of the next party primary.

Meanwhile, Gabbay addressed the battle in the Zionist Union over the post of opposition leader that is being vacated by incoming Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog. He confirmed a report that he wanted the law changed to enable him to receive the post, even though he is not an MK.

“I need to be opposition leader but I will make a decision that will enable us to be a large, fighting opposition,” Gabbay told the 103FM radio station.

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