Transparency International (TI) Georgia released today an interim report on campaign funds, saying the ruling Georgian Dream party’s finances are 2.5 times more than that of twelve opposition parties combined.
The report, covering the period from August 2 to September 12, examined 13 parties and groups, that have been either receiving public funds or have accrued donations of at least GEL 100,000 (USD 32,154) during the year.
The report highlighted that the ruling Georgian Dream party was accounted for 70% of all revenues and expenditures, which showed “an extremely unequal distribution of finances between the parties.”
“Alleged cases of political corruption and the lack of adequate response to them were still relevant,” the report also said. Between January 1 – September 12, 2021, companies connected to the donors of the ruling party secured public tenders worth about GEL 122.2 million (USD 39.3 million) and simplified public procurement contracts of GEL 4.5 million (USD 1.5 million), according to TI Georgia.
The watchdog added that over the same period, donors directly or indirectly affiliated with these companies donated more than GEL 2 million (USD 643 thousand) to GD.
The political parties examined by the watchdog received in total GEL 11.9 million (USD 3.8 million) during the monitoring period. 79% of the finances were secured through private donations, 17% with state funding, and 4% through loans.
Private donations went mostly to GD. It received GEL 7.8 million (USD 2.5 million) – about 84% of the total donations. The party was followed ex-Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s For Georgia with GEL 757.8 thousand (USD 244 thousand) and by United National Movement with GEL 543.2 thousand (USD 174.7 thousand).
Lelo received GEL 104 thousand (USD 33.4 thousand) in donations, while European Georgia secured GEL 74.3 thousand (USD 23.9 thousand), Alliance of Patriots – GEL 34.4 thousand (USD 11 thousand), and Third Force – GEL 22.5 thousand (USD 7.2 thousand). Labor Party was donated GEL 200 (USD 64).
Citizens, Law and Justice, New Political Center – Girchi, Progress and Freedom and European Democrats received no donations during the monitoring period.
The 13 parties used up GEL 10.9 million (USD 3.5 million) between August and mid-September. Here again, GD topped the list with expenses amounting to GEL 7.6 million (USD 2.4 million). It was followed by Lelo and For Georgia with GEL 796.4 thousand (USD 256 thousand) and GEL 703.6 thousand (USD 226.2 thousand), respectively.
UNM came in fourth with GEL 521.3 thousand (USD 167 thousand), followed by Girchi – GEL 454.3 thousand (USD 145 thousand), European Georgia – GEL 331 thousand (USD 106 thousand), Citizens – GEL 213.4 thousand (USD 68 thousand), Alliance of Patriots – GEL 125.9 thousand (USD 40 thousand), Third Force – GEL 103.4 thousand (USD 42 thousand)
Expenses on ads
Expenses on advertisements comprised 61% of total spending – GEL 6.7 million (USD 2.2 million). Rental costs and office expenses amounted to GEL 1.6 million (USD 520 thousand) with a 15% share in the total, while salaries made up a 3% share – GEL 269.6 thousand (USD 86.7 thousand).
GD spent GEL 5.3 million (USD 1.7 million) on ads, which is almost 10 times more than the next party on the list – Lelo, which spared GEL 539.3 thousand (USD 173.4 thousand). Gakharia’s For Georgia followed with GEL 336.6 thousand (USD 108.2 thousand).
Citizens came in fourth with GEL 190.9 thousand (USD 61.4 thousand), followed by Girchi – GEL 124.7 thousand (USD 40.1 thousand) and European Georgia – GEL 72.5 thousand (USD 23.3 thousand).
United National Movement, Georgia’s largest opposition party, spent GEL 66 thousand (USD 21.2 thousand), followed by the Third Force – GEL 37.6 thousand (USD 12 thousand), Alliance of Patriots – GEL 34.3 thousand (USD 11 thousand) and Labor party – GEL 200 (USD 64).