According to the State Audit Office, an independent body in charge of the political finance monitoring, in the period from September 1 to October 12, political parties and independent majoritarian candidates secured donations totaling GEL 22,602,245 (USD 7 million).
According to the interim report, released on October 23, the ruling Georgian Dream party raised the largest amount of funds, GEL 10,139,707 (USD 3.1 million), which equaled roughly 45 percent of total donations.
Opposition’s Lelo for Georgia party, founded by banker-turned-politician Mamuka Khazaradze, came second with GEL 2,599,290 (USD 800,000), 12% of the total sum of donations. The United National Movement of former President Mikheil Saakashvili landed third, with GEL 2,295,309 (USD 700,000) in donations, amounting to 10%.
Strategy Aghmashenebeli led by Giorgi Vashadze received GEL 2,015,505 (USD 600,000), coming in at 9% of the total amount raised. Kremlin-friendly Alliance of Patriots raised GEL 1,886,805 (USD 580,000), while European Georgia received GEL 1,646,295 (USD 510,000), 8% and 7% of the total sum, respectively.
Out of the 62 entities (49 political parties, 2 blocs and 11 independent majoritarian candidates) – GD, Lelo, UNM, Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Alliance of Patriots and EG raised 91% of all campaign donations during the September 1-October 12 period.
Overall, GEL 17,405,441 (USD 5.4 million) was spent by political parties and independent majoritarian candidates on campaign advertisements, according to the State Audit Office data.
Georgian Dream spent the largest amount of money on campaign ads, GEL 8,213,467 (USD 2.5 million), 47% of the total amount spent. UNM came in second with GEL 1,864,982 (USD 580,000), 11% of all advertisement expenses, followed by Lelo for Georgia which spent 10% – GEL 1,793,441 (USD 560,000).
Strategy Aghmashenebli, European Georgia and Alliance of Patriots spent GEL 1,773,088 (USD), GEL 1,634,575 (USD) and GEL 953,478 (USD) respectively, corresponding to roughly 10%, 9% and 5% of overall ad expenditures.
The top six spenders, similarly to donations, spent 93% of the total amount of funds spent on campaign advertisements.
State Audit Office found that the Free Georgia party did not declare a transaction of GEL 5,450 (USD 1,600), while some parties received “minor amounts” of money via cash deposits, which violated Organic Law of on Political Associations of Citizens.
The Audit Office also disclosed violations regarding campaign donations, all of which resulted in a warning by the Court: Social-Democrats for the Development of Georgia received a donation from a legal entity that has a shareholder registered abroad; Ivane Khazaradze donated GEL 85,000 (USD 26,000) to Lelo for Georgia in 2020, surpassing the yearly limit allowed by GEL 25,000 (USD 8,000); Tetrebi (Whites) party did not provide information regarding its campaign funds.
State Audit Office reported that Girchi TV and Obiektivi TV, affiliated to right-libertarian Girchi party and the Alliance of Patriots respectively, aired video clips in favor of the corresponding parties for free, which the Office deemed as political donations. Since Obiektivi TV is a nonprofit, it is barred from making donations, meanwhile, Girchi TV is allowed to donate, but the recipient party did not declare the donation. The State Audit Office stated that it relayed relevant documents to the Tbilisi City Court.
According to the Office, based on the information provided by the Prosecutor’s Office, as well as media reports, it began a probe into Alliance of Patriots’ donators. The state body is also examining video clips posted on a nonprofit organization “Davasrulot” (Georgian for “Let’s finish them”) Facebook page, containing political advertisements.
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September 1-21: Audit Office on Campaign Donations, Ads