‘Lapid Bill 2’ nears final hurdle

Bill would require the TV host-turned-politician to report all campaign donations to State Comptroller.

Yair Lapid 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yair Lapid 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The “Lapid Bill 2” will be brought to its final Knesset vote, after the House Committee unanimously approved the legislation for its second and third (final) plenum readings, forcing television-personality-turned- politician Yair Lapid to reveal his campaign’s donors.
The legislation passed through its preliminary reading, first reading and two committee votes in an accelerated process, and is expected to be brought to its final reading this week, before the Knesset recess begins.
The bill, proposed by House Committee chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) and MKs Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and Daniel Ben-Simon (Labor), would require any person or group that declares “in writing or in speech, clearly or through behavior,” an intention to run for a Knesset seat without joining an existing party to follow campaign finance laws and report all donations and income.
The aspiring politician will have to open a separate bank account and report any donations over NIS 50 to the state comptroller within 14 days, among other campaign finance regulations. Not reporting contributions carries a jail sentence of six months or a fine.
Someone who announced his or her candidacy before the law is passed, such as Lapid, will have to report all campaign contributions of over NIS 10 to the comptroller within 30 days. The comptroller will then publicize the details.
“The Knesset is closing a loophole that was misused,” Levin explained. “This bill is worthy, even if there is a specific person in the background.”
According to Schneller, only people with connections or wealth are able to become MKs, a fact that many politicians hide. This bill will make the democratic process more transparent, he said.
MK Dov Henin (Hadash), however, slammed the bill, saying that large parties are putting unnecessary blocks on new parties attempting to enter the political arena. Any additional block, he said, will increase public alienation and distrust in the political system, and discourage people from voting in the next elections.