Jerusalem’s mayor fined for improper use of election funds
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Jerusalem’s mayor fined for improper use of election funds

Nir Barkat hit with NIS 400,000 penalty in nationwide investigation by state comptroller

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. (Photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL /Flash90)
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. (Photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL /Flash90)

A report published Tuesday by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira found widespread misuse of election funds by local parties running for municipal elections across the country in October 2013.

The heftiest fine of NIS 400,000 ($110,000) was doled out to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s “Jerusalem will succeed” party, due in part to the list exceeding its allotted election expenditure and posting a NIS 10 million deficit.

Nir Barkat was not immediately available for comment.

According to the report, more than 127 electoral lists received illegal donations, and more than 35% of the parties failed to properly manage their funds.

Ashkelon’s Itamar Shimoni and Nahariyah’s Jacky Sebag were among other mayors listed in the report, which imposed fines totaling NIS 4.5 million ($1.2 million) on more than 500 electoral lists.

The report comes amid recent crackdowns by the state comptroller on electoral lists that do not operate according to increasingly stringent standards. Examples of fund misuse include a party that siphoned NIS 14,000 ($3,800) of building material to construct “election headquarters” on private property, and a party head who used funds to purchase a private water cooler for his home.

Israeli State Comptroller Yosef Shapira slammed electoral lists for "inflating" private expenses.  Photo by Flash90
Israeli State Comptroller Yosef Shapira slammed electoral lists for “inflating” private expenses. Photo by Flash90

Noting a “worrying trend” across the political spectrum that has seen widespread embezzlement of public funds for private purposes, Shapira denounced the “continued attempts to [spend] government money … on expenses that have absolutely nothing to do with the election campaign.”

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