Loss for secretive political parties at court – Win for transparency of political party funding

Parties of the Parliament have been ordered to disclose how much credit has been given to them by the state. They also have to make public which real estate properties have been acquired for their operations.

The HCLU and Figyelő (Hungarian printed and online news service) took the secretive Hungarian political parties to court, in order to find out the conditions and the spending surrounding credits funded by the Hungarian Development Bank.

In 2007, the MPs were in total agreement in giving political parties the opportunity to buy office space they were currently renting with the financial support of the state through the Hungarian Development Bank. All but one (MDF - Hungarian Democratic Party) of the HCLU’s and Figyelő’s enquiries went unanswered, citing bank and business secrets.

We have come across some interesting reasoning behind the denials: according to the MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party), the requested data is convenient for ’misuse by people with bad intentions’ and would serve as a base for ’defamation campaigns against certain officials’ and political terrorism. The KDNP (Christian Democratic People’s Party), among other reasons, denied access to the data due to their exceptionally thrifty financial management, and having only 1 (one) paid employee. FIDESZ (Hungarian Civic Union) did not answer the data request at all and did not feel obligated to attend the court hearing.

On December 3rd, 2009, the Capital Court accepted the HCLU’s reasoning and ruled that the requested data must be made public, due to the funding being credited and guaranteed by the state and the property acquired by the parties by state funding belongs to the state. The Capital Court’s decision also states that transparency of political funding overrules bank secrets.

The HCLU considers today’s ruling to be an important step in paving the road to transparency of taxpayers’ money connected to political parties. Unfortunately, we would not be surprised in case our politicians decide to appeal the Capital Court’s decision…

Megosztás

Kapcsolódó hírek

There is No Effective Control Over National Security - Three Civil Organizations File Complaints with the Constitutional Court

The Eötvös Károly Institute, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, and Transparency International Hungary seek to jointly challenge the new Act on the protection of classified information, promulgated on April 1st, and several provisions of the Act on national security before the Constitutional Court.

The Court Has Again Ruled in Favor of Making Public the Paks Damage-recovery Data

In the repeated first instance proceedings, the Metropolitan Court has ruled in favor of the Energy Club (green NGO) and has obligated the Nuclear Safety Directorate of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Agency (OAH) to make public the application submitted by Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. to OAH for damage-recovery. The almost 2 year long legal battle is not yet over, since the defendant will probably appeal the decision. The Energy Club was represented by HCLU attorney, András Schiffer.

Let’s just not sit back and relax yet

Despite international success, freedom of information is on a slippery domestic slope – and not in favour of the public.