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Primary candidates who did not follow procedures have been fined by state comptroller retired Judge Joseph Shapira. Leading the pack at NIS 65,000 was Economic Minister Naftali Bennett for not reporting private investigator fees charged for collecting information on the activity of MK Nissan Slomiansky, during faction primaries for Habayit Hayehudi. Additionally, fines were issued for Minister Amir Peretz, and Deputy Ministers Tzipi Hotovely and Danny Danon, as well as several additional MKs who were fined lower amounts.
According to the comptroller's report on the primaries which were held by some factions, it was shown that Bennett exceeded the NIS 1,215,153 (roughly $340,000) expenditure ceiling permitted by law for Habayit Hayehudi primaries. Additionally, he did not list all expenses to his account, plus he didn’t add authorizations for all expenses made in his name, thus he was fined a significant amount. Former Minister Daniel Hershkowitz withdrew his name before Habayit Hayehudi primaries, but received forbidden donations, and didn’t provide authorizations of all his expenditures, thus was fined NIS 2,000.
Also fined was MK Ayelet Shaked of Habayit Hayehudi, in the amount of NIS 5,000, because she neglected to turn in authorizations for campaign expenses by others, making it impossible to determine whether the expense report she submitted was complete and correct.
MK Shuli Mualem was fined NIS 2,800 ($780) for similar conduct. Another Habayit Hayehudi MK who was fined is Yoni Chetboun, who is committed to paying the state NIS 4,750 ($1,325) because his records did not list all revenue and expenses, and he did not report self-donations within the timeframes established by law through the website of the state comptroller.
Feiglin, Gamliel also hit with fines
The comptroller also found irregularities in the conduct of several primary candidates on the Likud Knesset list. Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon was fined NIS 20,000 for not managing his accounts in accordance with the law and guidelines of the state comptroller. According to the comptroller, the issue was that Dannon's accounting system was incomplete: he did not report contributions received by the dates prescribed in the law through the website of the comptroller, and did not attach authorizations for expenses.
MK Moshe Feiglin was fined NIS 18,000 ($5,000) for not managing his accounts according to the provisions of the law. Among other things, the fine was related to a deficit he carried over from the previous elections, which he had not taken care of, and because he did not provide authorization for expenses within his campaign.
Additional Likud fines: Deputy Minister Hotovely was fined NIS 2,000 for not keeping her accounts in accordance with the law. This included, according to the comptroller, prohibited spending prior to the elections. MK Gila Gamliel was fined NIS 3,600 ($1,000) because she exceeded the expenditure ceiling, which for the Likud was NIS 496,000 ($138,000). Her deviation was due to a deficit from previous primaries. An additional 24 candidates in the Likud primaries who were ultimately not elected to Knesset, including former MK Zion Pinyan, received warnings or fines because they managed their accounts contrary to instructions, or did not report their primary funds and expenditures to the state comptroller.
Fines for Peretz, Sandburg
And what about the Labor party? Irregularities were found there as well. Out of 83 candidates, 14 were fined. Recipients of fines include Environment Minister Amir Peretz, who ran for Labor primaries, but before the elections moved over to the Hatnua party. Peretz was fined NIS 2,000 for not reporting the opening of a special bank account, which he said was for future elections and donations received from the same account. He promised to return the funds in the account to the relevant donors.
MK Erel Margalit was fined NIS 3,000 ($840), because his accounts did not reflect all of his income and expenses. Former MK Daniel Ben-Simon was fined NIS 1,000 ($279) for unallocated expenses not from the account designated for the primaries. MK Nachman Shai received a warning from the comptroller because his report did not list all of his expenses.
Two Meretz MKs were also fined by the comptroller. MK Tamar Zandberg was fined NIS 500 ($139) for submitting her financial report late. MK Issawi Farij was fined NIS 3,000 for not submitting his financial report to the state comptroller, as required by law.
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