Cabinet approves draft bill on party finances

Legislation comes a year after Bárcenas scandal broke

The Cabinet has approved a draft bill that imposes tighter control on political parties’ finances, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría told a news conference on Friday.

The bill comes just over a year after news broke that former ruling conservative Popular Party treasurer Luis Bárcenas had kept secret ledgers in which he noted illegal donations by companies to the PP and cash bonuses paid to leading party members, including secretary general María Dolores de Cospedal and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, both of whom have denied receiving such payments.

The new regulations bar donations by companies to political parties, which will be obliged to publish on their websites their balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and debts they have contracted, detailing the amount paid off, the amount pending payment, interest rates and the date when loans are due.

The bill bars banks from pardoning the debt of political parties, which will also be prohibited from renegotiating what they owe in such a way that it is subject to interest payments below market rates.

Sáenz de Santamaría also said the proposed new legislation “tightens control” over foundations linked to political parties. However, companies will be allowed to make donations to these foundations.

Government sources admit in private that the new legislation came in response to the Bárcenas scandal.

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