Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Libertas refuses to go public on party funding despite claims to be the party of transparency

Despite their claim to be the party of transparency Libertas have again failed to make public the sources of their funding and details of defence contractor Rivada Networks early funding. Rivada Networks offices, phones and paid employees David Cochrane and Naoise Nunn were all utilised to set up Libertas.

The story in the Irish Independent today is highly topical given the funding scandal that is taking place over Libertas in Poland

Libertas founder to fund Polish party through the back door?

30th March 2009

Irish millionaire businessman Declan Ganley plans to take advantage of a loophole in Polish law that would allow him to fund the Polish branch of euroskeptic political party Libertas.

Polish law bans foreign financial funding in domestic politics, but Ganley appears to have found a way to bypass current legislation. The founder of Libertas and ardent euroskeptic proposes to act as a guarantor if Libertas Poland are unable to repay the bank loans issued to run the party.

The story broke in Saturday's edition of Dziennik and provoked outrage amongst politicians, who described the news as “scandalous.”

Zbigniew Chlebowski, PO's parliamentary club leader, called the news “unsettling” as, “a bank guarantee that gives a party money for elections can be given by a person that is prohibited by law to do so. This means to circumvent the existing rules,” he said.

Mr Chlebowski called for fast and decisive action in dealing with Mr Ganley's proposed funding, and expects advice from specialist lawyers to be available in the coming days.

From Warsaw Business Journal by Robert Szmigielski

Libertas refuses to go public on party funding

By Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

Tuesday March 31 2009

LIBERTAS last night supplied the State's ethics watchdog with a series of financial documents in a bid to provide "detailed answers" about its funding.

But the anti-Lisbon Treaty organisation will not be making public any copies of the bank statements or loan agreements, despite its own calls for greater political transparency.

Two weeks ago, the organisation failed to provide adequate information to the Standards in Public Office (Sipo) commission on where it got the money to fund its expensive campaign for a 'No' vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum. It has since been accused of "not being willing to operate under the Law" by Fianna Fail.

Libertas last night submitted documents in relation to three key issues queried. Copies of a €200,000 loan agreement between Libertas chief Declan Ganley and the organisation were provided, after Sipo first wrote to it last June seeking details of any loans provided to the organisation for the referendum campaign.

Details of the thousands of books on the Lisbon Treaty supplied by the Foundation for European Democracy and distributed by Mr Ganley were also submitted.

Sipo had raised questions about whether these constituted a donation because the material could be deemed to be influencing the vote's outcome.

However, legal advisers for Libertas are said to have argued that the books do not constitute a donation because the material was neutral and simply relayed the contents of the Lisbon Treaty.

The third aspect of the submission covers the employees of Mr Ganley's Rivada company, who worked for Libertas in their spare time and on a voluntary basis. Sipo again questioned if the use of these employees constituted a donation. Documents provided seek to outline when staff worked for Rivada, then moved to Libertas.

Asked why the organisation had decided against making the documents public, a spokesman said: "Why would we make them public, spend weeks explaining the details and have the Opposition attacking the contents when they won't do the same thing. There's a need for fairness."

- Aine Kerr Political Correspondent
Earlier Liberats Nein Danke reports here

Libertas Election Financing ? How Libertas circumvent election laws to receive Ganley's money revealed by Polish Libertas VP

Libertas deny that Ganley is funding Polish campaign. Polish daily Dziennik says story is true and confirmed by mulitple Libertas Poland sources

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