Kadima MKs demand transparency from Livni

Faction meets following damaging report that showed party wasting its taxpayer funding and not letting its MKs know how it is being spent.

Livni 311 reuters (photo credit: reuters)
Livni 311 reuters
(photo credit: reuters)
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni faced a difficult challenge in Monday’s Kadima faction meeting when more than half of her caucus complained about the lack of transparency in how the party was being run.
The faction met following a damaging investigative report on Channel 10 that indicated that the party was wasting its taxpayer funding and not letting its MKs know how it was being spent. A petition demanding transparency organized by MK Avi Dichter was signed by MKs Shaul Mofaz, Meir Sheetrit, Marina Solodkin, Yisrael Hasson, Yulia Shamolov Berkovich, Shai Hermesh, Majallie Whbee, Gideon Ezra, Ya’acov Edri, Otniel Schneller, Orit Zuaretz, Arieh Bibi, Ronit Tirosh and Eli Aflalo.
Dichter complained that the party’s director-general, Moshe Shehori, tried to persuade the lawmakers to remove their signatures from the petition. Other MKs reported receiving warnings from activists that they would not vote for them in the next election if they did not drop their support for Dichter’s effort.
“If you want to talk about a different, cleaner kind of politics, we have to have real transparency,” Dichter said. “It is unacceptable that it’s June and we haven’t seen the 2011 budget yet.”
Kadima activists from the north and the south complained at the meeting that there was no budget for party events in their regions.
Sheetrit said the party’s NIS 30 million debt must be taken care of before the next election or it could harm the party’s campaign. He suggested firing party workers and closing Livni’s office in a fancy building in Ramat Gan.
“We have to get things in order quickly,” Sheetrit said on Tuesday. “If it wasn’t for the investigation, nothing would have happened.”
Sheetrit proposed forming a finance committee within the faction that would deal with the party budget and update the rest of the faction regularly. There was a consensus in the faction about the idea, which would take key powers away from Livni, but a vote was not held because more MKs wanted to speak about the issue next week.
Livni’s rival, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz, said Livni bore the responsibility for the problems in the party.
MKs came to the defense of Livni and said “[Channel 10 analyst Raviv] Drucker is not our rabbi.”
Former minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who heads the party’s house committee, said the reason the budget had not been presented yet was because of the criminal investigation taking place against Shehori in a tax authority scandal, a state comptroller report on party funding that was delayed and a lawsuit with Likud over the way funding was split when Kadima broke off from the party in 2005.
Livni herself said she supported Dichter’s effort and that she, too, wanted more transparency.