State financing of bogus political parties exposed by Atlatszo.hu, following breakthrough court ruling
The state treasury is obliged to release details of central government financing used to support political parties competing in the 2014 general elections, following a first-instance procedure in a court case initiated by Atlatszo.hu. Within Hungary, it is all but common knowledge that the new party financing system has paved the way for significant sums of money to be given by the state without appropriate accountability.
The 2014 general elections were the first to be conducted using the revised regulations, which were enacted by the current government, having won an overwhelming majority in 2010 and – arguably as a result of its own new system – again in 2014. Under the banner of a more inclusive democracy, it essentially eliminated all entry-level restrictions while granting central funding to a broad range of political parties not subject to oversight. Naturally, a flock of groups, most of which had never been heard of before, appeared on the scene. They picked up the forint equivalent of tens of thousands of euros and then made no viable effort to actually orchestrate a campaign. They were required to submit expense bills, which many believe are dubious, but these cannot be scrutinised because they have been withheld from the public.
The political criticism targeted at the government was that it lowered entry levels into the political contest in order to further weaken the position of the opposition, which was already fragmented and in a state of disarray.
The latest court ruling – which is open to appeal – sided with Atlatszo.hu and obliges the state treasury to make the data public. This is even though the state has ratified a law based on our earlier queries to keep the public eye away from the records, claiming that a layman would not have the necessary expertise to properly evaluate the contents.
If the appeals court sides with us, and we are going to release the records in detail and broken down by township, helping to identify any and all instances of illicit use of public funds. The records will be open, and we are relying on the diligent assistance of our readers to spot any suspicious entries.