Corruption watchdog commences two inspections on use of state funding by KPV LV

Last week Latvia’s President Egils Levits submitted to the Saeima amendments to Cabinet Structure Law. These provide the head of the government the rights to appoint ministers to narrow but important roles, such as child and family affairs or digital policy.
These aren’t the only amendments the president promised to submit to the legislator this autumn. Levits is committed to correcting the amendments he proposed to the Law on Financing of Political Organisations (Parties), as reported by TV3 programme Nekā personīga.
Two years ago Saeima deputies decided to considerably increase the money political parties are allowed to receive from the state budget. Of course most deputies voted in favour of the money going to them. However, although many political parties have collapsed during this Saeima, they still receive money.
Political parties cannot make do with member fees alone. However, excessive dependence on donators may create the situation when politicians make decisions in the interest of their sponsors.
More than EUR 4 million of state funding is paid annually to political parties in the 13th Saeima. Ten parties and political forces that passed the 2% threshold in the elections receive this money.
Compared to the previous state financing allocation before 2019, parties elected to the Saeima receive five times more now. The lion’s share – EUR 800 000 – is paid to Harmony and KPV LV. The financing diverted to these parties remains above EUR 640 000.
A year after the system was amended Latvia’s President Egils Levits told TV3 programme 900 seconds that he is happy with it.
Private donations to political parties have reduced. They now account for only 10% of political parties’ financing.
But neither the president nor the legislator could predict what would happen with state financing if a party cleared to receive state budget financing withers down to a couple of groups of people, which is what happened with KPV LV, the programme notes. The political party led by Artuss Kaimiņš, which received 16 seats in elections, is basically non-existent in the parliament. Members of this party have either left, joined other parties or have founded their own. Legally speaking there are only two deputies who still represent KPV LV: Māris Možvillo and ex-Minister of Welfare Ramona Petraviča.
The party’s name is not the same either – For a Humane Latvia.
However, in spite of what happened, this party has no intention of refusing the half a million worth state financing this year.
Nekā personīga also adds that one Normunds Vilnītis has joined the party For a Humane Latvia. He was previously removed from his post as chief of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) for different violations. Now on behalf of the party he writes responses to complaints from KNAB so that the party does not lose state financing. Vilnītis is paid a salary from the state financing – EUR 1 100 a month.
A considerably portion of state financing was spend by the party on pre-election campaigns during the 2020 snap elections in Riga. KPV LV went to these elections with Ralfs Nemiro at the front. EUR 126 000 was paid to an unknown firm for advertisements. The party failed to enter the city council, however. According to documents available to Nekā personīga, prices were artificially inflated. KNAB has commenced two inspections. Māris Možvillo has been called in for an interview.
If KNAB finds more than EUR 30 000 worth of expenditures not associated with political party activities, the state financing will be cut.