Coalition to advance bill targeting V15 group

Attention has been focused on V15 after a bipartisan US Senate subcommittee criticized the State Department for giving a $350,000 grant to OneVoice, which became V15.

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July 17, 2016 01:02
1 minute read.
MK ORLY LEVY-ABECASSIS is pictured alone in the Knesset in this photo from January 2015

MK ORLY LEVY-ABECASSIS is pictured alone in the Knesset in this photo from January 2015. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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The heads of the parties in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition will meet on Sunday to discuss how to advance a bill that would hobble political organizations like V15 that campaigned against Netanyahu in the last election.

Attention has been focused on V15 after a bipartisan US Senate subcommittee criticized the State Department for giving a $350,000 grant to OneVoice, which became V15.

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Proposed by Likud MK Yoav Kisch, the bill would prevent organizations involved in elections from raising more than NIS 1,000 a month. Netanyahu has announced his support for the bill.

V15, which has since renamed itself Darkenu, caused headaches for Netanyahu ahead of the March 2015 election by hosting rallies against him and spending huge sums on billboards and canvasing voters. Such activity was legal, because they did not tell voters to support a specific party or candidate.

Kisch said the Senate report proved how important it is to fix the loophole that V15 exploited in the last election. He said that besides V15, he wanted to prevent a recurrence of the 1999 election in which fictitious organizations were used to finance the campaign of then-prime ministerial candidate Ehud Barak.


“Campaign fund-raising laws would no longer be able to be bypassed by such organizations,” Kisch said. “If we don’t close this loophole, our elections could stoop to those of America, in which huge sums are drafted from wealthy people to impact the results of the elections. Our elections must be more transparent with rules that are fair.”

The bill’s advancement has been prevented in recent months by Bayit Yehudi, which is concerned that it will prevent right-wing organizations from impacting elections.

Construction Minister Uri Ariel of Bayit Yehudi asked Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit Thursday to investigate Darkenu.

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