On October 3, 2016, the Media Development Foundation (MDF) released a report Pre-election Media Environment, which among other issues also reviews election campaign media spending in a period between June 8 and August 30. The figures provided in the report are based on financial reports submitted by electoral subjects to the State Audit Office.
On October 4, a number of online and print editions informed the Media Development Foundation that in a period between June 8 and August 30 they received from Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia (GDDG) only a part of the amount indicated in the report for advertising purposes.
We searched some additional materials and suppose that GDDG apparently made a mistake when filling in a report, as it indicated different data (total cost of service) in the report instead of the expenses incurred in a three-week period as defined by law.
MDF referred to Georgian legislation as well as financial reports and official data of political parties available on the website of the State Audit Office.
According to article 32 of the Law of Georgia on Political Unions of Citizens, as well as article 5 of the Order (No.2915/21) of the Auditor General of the State Audit Office dated May 5, 2015, every three weeks after setting the date of elections, each electoral subject running in the elections independently or in an election bloc shall be obliged to submit financial reports to the State Audit Office in a form set by the latter.
Based on the above mentioned documents, the State Audit Office has developed a special instruction, which clearly outlines the periods that should be reflected in the reports covering a three-week election period and when they should be submitted. In particular:
- Information covering a period from June 8 to June 28 – on July 1;
- Information covering a period from June 29 to July 19 – on July 22;
- Information covering a period from July 20 to August 9 – on August 12;
- Information covering a period from August 10 to August 30 – on September 2;
- Information covering a period from August 31 to September 20 – on September 23;
- Information covering a period from September 21 to October 8 – on October 12;
- Information covering a period from June 8 to October 8 – on October 26 (those electoral subjects, who, according to the preliminary data, received enough votes specified by the Election Code of Georgia)
- Information covering a period from June 8 to releasing election results – in a month after releasing election results (all electoral subjects running in the elections).
Thus, following each three-week reporting period, an electoral subject has to submit financial information covering these three weeks. Summarizing of these data is envisaged by Form No.5 of the State Audit Office, which provides a total amount of expenses incurred by a party during a particular reporting period (three weeks). Just these official data were reflected in the report prepared by MDF.
We will definitely take additional measures to create a complete picture. For this to happen, we call on the State Audit Office to study the issue of accuracy of reports provided by Georgian Dream party and we will notify the public of the results.
regulation of some issues related to transparency of political finance