Public funds

Fidesz-friendly NGOs received most of the tax from the Samsung factory in Göd

The local business taxes from the Göd special economic zones (aka the Samsung battery factory in Göd) are managed by the county of Pest. According to the government decree, which has been amended several times, in addition to the town of Göd, four municipalities – Csomád, Dunakeszi, Fót and Sződ – can benefit from the tax paid, and the county assembly decides on the exact use of the money.

Átlátszó asked Pest County for the list of NGOs that were supported and rejected from the second allocation of the Civil Support Fund financed by the local business taxes of the Samsung factory in Göd. More than double the HUF 300 million budget announced, HUF 656 million was distributed among 36 organisations; the applications of 50 applicants were rejected.

Among the beneficiaries are several organisations linked to Fidesz. For example, the Mogyoródi Lokálpatrióta Civil Egyesület (Mogyoród Local Patriotic Civil Association), whose president, László Kurfis, was elected as a municipal councillor in Mogyoród in 2019 with the support of Fidesz, will be able to organise a traditional family day with nearly HUF 17 million.

The Veresegyházi Forrás Közhasznú Egyesület (Source  Public Benefit Association of Veresegyháza) will also receive 17 million HUF for the organisation of a single traditional day. Its leader, Ildikó Szabóné Tolnai, stood in the local elections in 2010 and 2014 under the Fidesz-KDNP party.

The Vácrátóti Hagyományőrző és Faluvédő Egyesület (Vácrátót Association for the Preservation of Traditions and the Protection of Villages) received 13.5 million HUF from the county in the previous NGO competition. The association’s events are almost always attended by Bence Rétvári (Fidesz-KDNP), Member of Parliament.

That the association from Vácrátót received the requested 13.7 million HUF for traditional events in the second civil tender.

The Természetesen Dunakesziért Egyesület (Naturally for Dunakeszi Association) also received a second major grant: 17.6 million HUF for a health promotion event, with Bence Tuzson (Fidesz-KDNP) as the main patron.

In total, the seven civil society organisations and church communities in Dunakeszi received around HUF 80 million in grant money. The majority of these have good relations with Bence Tuzson and the Fidesz city government. At the same time, four organisations from Sződliget, which is run by the opposition, applied for smaller sums, but none of them were deemed worthy of support.

It is disturbing to read that an association in Őrbottyán is asking the local primary school for a grant from the Samsung donation in Göd to buy hand sanitising stands and hygiene dispensers.

However, organisations that had previously received funding to set up local media promoting pro-government politicians have disappeared from the list of applicants. It seems that after the successful parliamentary elections for Fidesz-KDNP, propaganda is less needed. But at the beginning of May, the 3rd call for applications for the Civil Support Fund was published, so it will be possible for those who have not yet applied for funding to do so again.

There is one local media on the second round list. The Dunakeszi Kistérségért Egyesület (Dunakeszi Association for the Dunakeszi Region) will be able to use with 6.5 million HUF to continue running its online news portal, Térségi Tények (Araea Facts), which is a thinly veiled propaganda for the government.

The association was founded by politicians who left the Democratic Coalition, but the news site they created regularly publishes articles discrediting local opposition politicians.

Péter Varga Zoltán (Jobbik) reported on his social media page that the association’s headquarters is registered in Dunakeszi, in a branch of the law office of Dr. Ágnes Tóth, a DK county MP. The association’s vice-presidents are László Lőrincz ex-DK members of the DK and Bálint Lukácsi, who have good relations with Ágnes Tóth and played an active role in the transfer of opposition members of the Göd municipality to Fidesz.

So far, the Pest county assembly has given a total of 33 million HUF to the “civil” association of DK and pseudo-opposition politicians. Even after the elections, the news portal linked to them has been diligently producing “debunking” articles promoting Bence Tuzson and trying to discredit the opposition in Göd.

Written and translated by Zsuzsa Bodnár, the Hungarian version of this story is available here. Cover photo: Member of Parliament Bence Tuzson as the main patron at the health promotion event of the Naturally Dunakeszi Association on 7 May 2022 (source: Bence Tuzson’s Facebook page)

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