News Political campaigns will cost over $ 5 million in...

Political campaigns will cost over $ 5 million in public funds

While the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), he Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) and the Dignity Project they welcomed the “Alternative Voluntary Fund”, which grants the parties and their candidate for governor up to $ 1 million in public money to finance the election campaign, the Electoral Comptroller’s Office keeps waiting for the New Progressive Party (PNP) notify you which mechanism will be used by November 3.

The electoral comptroller, Walter Velez, said to Metro that, although unofficially he had received information that the PNP and its candidate for governor, Pedro Pierluisi, they would welcome the “Special Fund for Campaign Expenses”, in which the government matches each dollar collected up to a maximum of $ 5 million, yesterday they indicated that a final decision had not yet been made.

Vélez pointed out that This electoral cycle will be the first in which the PPD joins the Alternative Fund. Under this model, the party and its gubernatorial candidate receive $ 4 in public funds for every dollar they contribute. That is, to receive the government cap of $ 1 million, about $ 250,000 must be raised.

The laws in Puerto Rico do not impose limits on the campaign revenues that a party or candidate may generate in the face of an election process. However, Law 222-2011 does provide that no candidate or party that avails itself of either of the two models of public financing may spend more than $ 10 million in the campaign. Any excess investment is penalized with a fine the amount of which will be triple the expense above the $ 10 million limit.

A party that chooses to receive the Special Fund and collects $ 5 million, by adding the $ 5 million in public money, will have generated enough to cover the limit of allowed expenses.

Law 222 stipulates that parties can access the Special Fund or the Alternate Fund as of July 1 of the election year. However, cannot benefit until they have a certified candidate for governor, a process that, in the case of the PNP and the PPD, did not occur until recent weeks, after the primaries were postponed from June to August due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the moment they certify their candidate for the highest elective position, the parties have 15 days to notify which fund they will take advantage of, so the PNP must officially pronounce this week, Velez explained.

Although the two main parties have traditionally benefited from the Special Fund, Vélez acknowledged that the short time remaining for the general elections, as well as the decline in political donations, may have been the determining factors in the PPD’s decision to settle for the Alternative Fund , while the PNP also considers this alternative.

In election year, registered parties also have access to the call “Special Allocation for Administrative Expenses” of $ 400,000. Like the Special Fund and the Alternative Fund, this allocation is available by law as of July 1.

He Citizen Victory Movement and Alexandra Lúgaro they announced in June that they would waive both the campaign finance fund and the $ 400,000 allocation for administrative expenses. The independent candidate for governor, Eliezer Molina, also declined to receive public funding, although it had the option of choosing the Special Fund or the Alternative Fund.

However, at the moment it is unknown when the other communities and their candidates will have access to public financing, since, according to El Nuevo Día reported last Thursday, the government and the Fiscal Control Board They did not include this item in the budget from the certified general fund in July, and at the moment the federal agency is evaluating a budget request.

If Pierluisi and the PNP choose to access the Special Fund and manage to raise the $ 5 million eligible for matching, the government would be obliged to disburse up to $ 9.6 million during this election cycle, when taking into account campaign financing and the Allocation of Administrative Expenses. On the contrary, if La Palma were to favor the Alternate Fund, the public treasury would disburse a maximum of $ 5.6 million.

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