Ministry bill aims to expand party funding watchdog's investigative powers

Headquarters of the Political Party Funding Supervision Committee (EJRK)
Headquarters of the Political Party Funding Supervision Committee (EJRK) Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Ministry of Justice has submitted for a round of approval a bill of amendments to the Political Parties Act and the Credit Institutions Act aimed at expanding the investigative powers of the Political Party Funding Supervision Committee (EJRK).

If passed, the amendments will establish the legal basis for the ERJK to request documents, information and explanations from third parties, as well as to summon individuals to the ERJK's offices. The latter will provide for a reasonable timeframe in which to appear, but also refer to the opportunity to impose a fine or compelled attendance should someone fail to appear.

"Compelled attendance may be imposed on an individual only if there is reason to believe that the individual has data that is of vital importance to the termination of a violation of the requirements provided for by law and the individual has not appeared even after being fined," the ministry said. "Compelled attendance will be conducted by the police as a matter of professional assistance. Compelled attendance will not be applied to MPs."

Also to be amended are the consequences applicable to the accepting of prohibited donations, including the introduction of an objective deadline (30 calendar days) within which time a prohibited donation must be returned to the individual who made the donation. Once this deadline has been exceeded, the forbidden donation must be transferred to the state budget.

"A political party will return a prohibited donation to the individual who made the donation within 30 days starting from when the donation was received," the ministry said. "If the prohibited donation has not been returned to the individual who made it by the deadline, the party is obliged to transfer the donation to the state budget immediately."

ERJK precepts requiring the transfer of prohibited donations to the state budget will be made enforceable by means of enforcement proceedings. In the case of political parties who receive allocations from the state budget, allocations will be reduced (by up to 50 percent of monthly allocation), and the obligation to pay interest, at a rate of 0.06 percent per day, will replace late fees.

Interest will be calculated based on the day following the day when the recipient of the forbidden donation was required to transfer it to the state budget until the day when the donation is transferred to the state budget, state budget allocations are reduced to the appropriate extent or the obligation imposed by a precept is enforced via enforcement proceedings.

In addition to the aforementioned changes, the bill also includes several regulatory changes to the Political Parties Act; provisions will be removed from the act that are not applicable.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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