Popular Party (PP) secretary general María Dolores de Cospedal has denied that Mariano Rajoy’s salary as leader of the conservative bloc rose by 27 percent between 2007 and 2011, in the midst of the worst financial crisis to strike Spain since the Civil War.
De Cospedal attributed the increase in the prime minister’s income to “electoral bonuses and responsibilities.”
“It is not true that Rajoy’s salary was raised,” the PP number two said on Monday after the prime minister had taken the step of publishing his income and tax returns at the weekend in response to claims of illegal financing and under-the-counter cash payments within the governing party.
De Cospedal added that there had been a party-wide pay increase in May 2008 linked to campaign income for the general elections that year.
In explaining this increase and a personnel costs rise of 22 percent within the party between 2007 and 2011, taking place in the middle of a recession, the PP secretary general said ironically that “the government [of Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero] told us over and over again that there was no crisis.”
All of the other leaders, not just Rubalcaba, should do exactly the same”
“The PP has published all of its accounts, not just a summary. Everything that is required by the Court of Auditors,” said De Cospedal, who asked that “all of the rest of the leaders, not just [Socialist leader Alfredo] Rubalcaba, should do exactly the same.” However, De Cospedal did not clarify whether the party would publish detailed accounts for the periods contained in the secret ledgers obtained by EL PAÍS that allegedly show a parallel financing system within the PP over two decades, and in which Rajoy is noted down as having received 25,000 euros a year in undeclared cash between 1999 and 2008.
However, De Cospedal did say that in the “coming days” a dozen high-ranking PP officials also implicated in the ledgers, including herself, would publish their financial details on the party website.
Esteban González Pons, the PP communications chief, said on television Monday morning that party members “have nothing to fear by revealing everything we have and by being completely transparent.” Only by doing this, Pons noted, can the PP regain the confidence of the citizenry.
Asked about the party’s support for former treasurer Luis Bárcenas, the supposed author of the secret ledgers, Pons replied: “When you work with someone for 20 years you give them a certain amount of personal credit. When a colleague is going through a rough patch, you try to be there and help.”
Pons joined De Cospedal in calling for the Socialists to display the “same transparency.”
“I believe it is the best path. The Socialist Party should explain how it is financed.”