Comptroller fines Likud hefty sum for Likudiada

Normally clean Yesh Atid, Hatnua also fined.

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira‏ (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira‏
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira fined the Likud NIS 350,000 on Wednesday because the annual Likudiada event in Eilat had illegally helped the party.
Shapira wrote that even though the Likudiada is a private event, it uses the Likud’s name and the Likud’s representatives in the Knesset attend it. He wrote that because the party does not pay for the Likudiada, it constitutes an illegal contribution from its organizers to the party.
The Likud responded that if the Likudiada is a forbidden contribution to the party, so is every privately organized political event. The party said that the Likudiada is not initiated or organized by Likud and it is therefore not funded by them – nor should it be. The Likud protested the fine and said it would contest it.
The second-largest fine issued by the comptroller, NIS 150,000, went to United Torah Judaism for organizing an event in Ukraine marking the 40th anniversary of one of its Hassidic sects and for accepting commercial sponsorships for the event.
Yisrael Beytenu was fined NIS 137,000 by Shapira for accepting tens of thousands of party memberships that were paid for with cash. A Yisrael Beytenu spokesman said the party would study the report and learn its lessons.
Shapira also fined two factions that pride themselves on their cleanliness: Yesh Atid was fined NIS 100,000, and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party, which joined with the Labor party to form the Zionist Union, was charged NIS 90,000.
The comptroller said Yesh Atid did not properly maintain all its expense forms and receipts, nor did it account for the salaries of parliamentary aides.
A Yesh Atid spokesman responded that the party was taking the report seriously, that some faulty procedures pointed out by Shapira had already been fixed before the report, and that others would be studied in order to follow the recommendations.
“Yesh Atid sees proper administration as an important organizational value and we thank the comptroller’s office for its work that has been done with transparency and cooperation,” the spokesman said.
Hatnua was fined for not taking into account costs related to Livni’s participation at a rally marking the anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Labor, Kulanu, Meretz, and Shas received positive reports from the comptroller.