Minister Calls for Transparent Investigation, Return of Improper Contributions
Justice Minister Kristen Michal says he is not categorically opposed to resigning in the context of the Reform Party financing scandal.
"I have never ruled it out," said Michal in an interview with ETV when asked about the prospect of resigning.
On Tuesday, two members of the ruling party said that they made donations to the party from money given to them by another MP and originating from undisclosed sources. According to one of the whistle-blowers, former MP Silver Meikar, the transaction occurred with the knowledge of Michal. Michal denies the charges.
"In this case, I see no fault and I have unequivocally denied the charges," said the minister. "But I will never rule out taking political responsibility if necessary for the continued functioning of the Republic of Estonia; for instance, if my being justice minister somehow hinders investigation or implicates the reputation of the ministry, the Cabinet or the party, I will certainly be ready to step down."
Michal called on Meikar to reveal his financial sources, other than MP Kalev Lillo, who allegedly delivered the money to Meikar.
"This also has financial consequences," said Michal. "There should be consultation with the party financing oversight committee. One of two things will have to happen: the party must return the money to Meikar, or it must be transferred to the state budget and Meikar should cover his campaign spending from his own personal funds."
Asked whether he might sue Meikar, Michal said amendments to the Political Parties Act were discussed earlier this spring with the party financing oversight committee and that these were "an even better response" to Meikar's allegations.