The Communists Looked Into the “United Russia” Wallet

August 20, 2013

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation has accused the United Russia party of accepting foreign funds into its campaign chest, funds that could conceivably be put into use during Moscow’s mayoral race. However, election officials deny that United Russia has done anything wrong.

These allegations come just after the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia asked law enforcement to investigate the campaign funds of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Last week, Russia’s prosecutor general said that Navalny did receive foreign funds, though Navalny has denied the charges and responded to those claims. See our separate translation, Alexei Navalny’s Support Challenged. – Ed.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) submitted to the Central Election Commission (CEC), the Ministry of Justice, and the Federal Tax Service a request to review funding of the “United Russia” [political party] for compliance with applicable laws and regulations: they allegedly found some foreign organizations among the sponsors. Both the ruling party and the CEC denied the communists’ suspicions.

The CPRF submitted a request to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Central Election Commission, the Ministry of Justice, and the Federal Tax Service to check the sources of funding of United Russia. “Recently it was reported in the media that United Russia support fund received money from some foreign entities. This is a gross violation, so I sent four requests: to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the CEC, and the Ministry of Justice,” Vadim Solovyov, the CPRF lawyer told Interfax on Friday.

The party demanded to stop the illegal transfer of funds, to remit the money to the state budget, or return the funds to the sponsors.

United Russia denies the communists’ accusations. “Throughout its existence the United Russia party has not received any complaints from regulators regarding funding. Everything is done in strict adherence to the applicable law,s”  the first deputy head of the United Russia Central Executive Committee, Konstantin Mazurevsky, said on Friday.

He explained that there is a dual system to verify the sources of funding: all receipts within the party are subject to stringent internal audit. Besides, he added, external financial audits are conducted by the Central Election Commission, and for these purposes the party submits quarterly cost and revenue statements. In addition, the public support funds receipts are also subject to control.

The CEC Chairman Leonid Ivliev confirmed, that there had been no complaints against the party regarding its financing and stressed that the CPRF allegations are part of its campaign. “In accordance with applicable laws political parties submit quarterly reports on their receipts and expenditure of funds. The information is verified by the Accountability Office of the Central Election Commission, that employs experienced professionals. For the whole period the United Russia party is in existence there has never been any complaints about this issue,” states a press release by the Central Election Commission.

Ivliev suggested that submitting requests to check the United Russia sources of financing just before the election day is nothing but a smear campaign.