Q4 2020 Party finances: Center largest donor recipients

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Office of the Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Party finances for the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) have been reported for all five parties represented at the Riigikogu, along with those of the non-parliamentary Estonian Greens. The coalition Center Party once again took in the largest amount of donations at close to €220,000, while opposition Reform Party received the largest amount in state subsidy, at a little under €450,000.

Parties report their finances to the Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) who then make the data public.

Some major donors from the world of business donated to more than one party.

Center Party

Center, the largest of the three coalition parties, collected a total of €218,768 in donations in Q4 2020.

The largest four Center Party donors, businessmen Endel Siff, Hillar Teder, Urmas Sõõrumaa and Raivo Rand, between them gave the party €175,000 in Q4 2020.

Of these, Teder, whose main activities are in retail, real estate and investment, provided €60,000, while Siff and Sõõrumaa donated €50,000 each. Rand, one half of Rand & Tuulberg construction firm, donated €15,000, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

Of other major donors, former Tallinn deputy mayor Merike Martinson donated €10,000, businessman Jaan Toots gave €5,000, and former government minister and Estonia's current European Commissioner Kadri Simson provided €5,000 also.

Center MP and former Sumo star Kaido Höövelson donated a little over €3,000.

Center, with 25 seats at the Riigikogu, received the second-largest proportion in state support at €341,926 for Q4 2020. State support is provided to all represented parties, relative to their size and representation.

Center took in €24,052 in membership fees over the same period.

Reform Party

Opposition party Reform took in €117,000 in Q4 2020, ERR reports.

Hillar Teder was also the largest donor to this party, with €30,000.

Businessmen Henri Jääger and Tarmo Tamm donated €15,000 each, Aivar Berzin, €7,000, and Ronald Blumenau and Aren Põder, €6,000 apiece.

Hannes Tamjärv, Urmas Reimann, Martin Kruus and Oleg Omeltšenko each donated €5,000 in Q4 2020, ERR reports.

Reform received the largest total of state support at €447,134. Reform has 34 seats at the Riigikogu.

The party took in €8,233 in membership fees.

EKRE

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), the second-largest coalition party, raised slightly over €17,000 in donations in Q4 2020, BNS reports.

Significant donors were Aivar Soot (€5,000) and Indrek Laul (€2,000).

EKRE, which has 19 seats at the Riigikogu, received a state subsidy of €249,869, along with €5,473 in membership fees and property income of €3,127, BNS reports.

Isamaa

The smallest of the three coalition parties by Riigikogu seats, Isamaa, took in €77,820 in donations in Q4 2020.

Hillar Teder was also the major donor here, giving the party €60,000.

Isamaa, which has 12 Riigikogu seats, took in €157,812 in state subsidy and €12,931 in membership fees. It took in €11 (eleven euros) in income property, BNS reports.

SDE

The Social Democratic Party (SDE), the second opposition party, received €50,898 in donations for Q4 2020.

Urmas Sõõrumaa provided almost half of this total, with €25,000, BNS reports.

Other major donors were MEP and former SDE foreign minister Sven Mikser (€6,000), the party's other MEP, Marina Kaljurand (€3,000) and businessman Martin Grünthal, who also provided €3,000 to the party.

SDE has 10 Riigikogu seats and received €131,510 in state support, and membership fees of €4,039.

Eesti 200

Non-parliamentary party Eesti 200 took in €6,624 in Q4 2020, ERR reports.

The bulk of this, €5,000, was donated by businessman Oleg Ossinovski.

State support was reported at €25,000, and the party took in €8,328 in membership fees over the same period.

Estonian Greens

The Green Party, which has no Riigikogu seats at present and which has been plagued by financial problems in the recent past, took in €3,866 in donations in Q4 2020.

The party's membership fees totaled €3,590, BNS reports.

Figures for the TULE party was not available at the time of writing.

A coalition bill aimed at disbanding the ERJK, the body tasked with overseeing party finances, foundered during the summer after SDE MPs tabled thousands of amendments. The bill would have placed responsibility for overseeing party finances under the auspices of the National Audit Office (Riigikontroll).

Close to 1,200 people donated nearly €1.2 million through 2020

A total of 1,171 people donated to political parties through the whole of 2020, and their donations combined came to €1,189,725, giving an average donation of €1016, though 18 people donated one euro each to the various parties.

Center was the largest beneficiary, getting €524,511, followed by Isamaa at €271,504.

The Reform Party received €153,919, with SDE slightly behind at €148,897.

EKRE saw the lowest level of donations from among the Riigikogu parties, picking up €64,127.

Eesti 200 received €12,571, the Estonian Greens €9,506 and TULE, which was formed last year after the Free Party and Richness of Life merged, got €9.506 in donations.

Following questions surrounding a €50,000 donation to Center, the money was returned.

This piece was updated to include figures for Eesti 200, and figures for all parties across the whole of 2020.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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