Anti-cohabitation act NGO's ads illegal, says watchdog
Political ads calling for people to vote for MPs who voted against the Cohabitation Act, and not to vote for the act's supporters, was outdoor political campaigning and counted as illegal donations to the favored MPs, the Political Party Funding Oversight Committee (ERJK) ruled.
The ads were distributed by the Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition, an NGO which campaigned against the Cohabitation Act and giving same-sex couples more rights.
The fliers called on people to remember the Cohabitation Act vote last autumn and vote for certain politicians, mostly belonging to IRL and the Center Party, while attacking those who voted for the bill, mostly Reform Party and Social Democrat MPs, and a few Center Party MPs.
The ads were distributed in Estonian and Russian shortly before the election took place, meaning it took place at a time when outdoor political campaigning was banned.
ERJK will now calculate the value for the candidates which were backed by the NGO's campaign. It has turned to the NGO asking how much the campaign cost and how the fliers were handed out.
ERJK has a number of other cases of potential illegal political financing to investigate, including Tallinn financing an election event in Valga and the youth wing of the Center Party advertizing on public transport in Tallinn, despite the city's public transport authorities banning political ads on the vehicles.