Parliament discussed on April 12 with its second reading draft amendment to the controversial law on political parties, which also includes provisions regulating party funding rules. The draft is expected to be voted and passed with second hearing later on April 12.
One of the key amendments includes narrowing circle of entities and individuals that may fall under the monitoring of the state audit agency’s unit in charge of political finances.
For details of what is being amended see:
According to the new provision, which was included in the draft during the second hearing, the state audit agency, Chamber of Control, can take a decision to apply restrictions and regulations envisaged for political parties to other entities or individuals through a simplified administrative procedure. The draft amendments limit scope of entities, which may fall under the Chamber of Control’s monitoring to those groups, which have “declared electoral goals” (instead of “political and electoral goals” as it is now formulated in the law) and which spend funds for achieving such goals.
The law bans corporate funding to political parties; it allows parties to receive donations from citizens and the amount of such donation made from each citizen per year should not exceed GEL 60,000 (about USD 36,000). No changes will be made to this provision.
According to the law if a group of individual donors has the same source of income (for example if they are employees of the same company) their aggregate donation to a single party should not exceed GEL 500,000 annually.
This provision will also remain unchanged, but during the second reading a new clause has been added to the law, according to which individuals, who receiving income from the same sources and whose aggregate donation will exceed the limit of GEL 500,000, will not be subject of fine if they violated this limitation unwittingly. In such case the Chamber of Control will have to notify these individuals about the violation within five days.
The draft amendments also involve a proposal on allocating additional state funding for some political parties, which will be used for political TV ads.
According to this amendment total of up to GEL 2.23 million of additional public funding will be available for twelve political parties on top of what they already receive from the state budget based on their performance in the most recent elections – in this case in May, 2010 local elections. The additional funds should be used solely for political ads on television stations.