The campaign funds donated to the earthquake victims

Political parties and independent candidates pledged to donate their campaign funds to earthquake victims and we tell you their current progress
The campaign funds donated to the earthquake victims
Buildings in La Condesa damaged after the earthquake – Photo: Lucía Godínez/EL UNIVERSAL
Mexico City
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Five political parties and the independent candidates running for President have contributed with over MXN$ 500 million to the victims of the September earthquakes, with the funds from their ordinary campaign expenses, according to the National Electoral Institute (INE).

The INE has thus far reported the return of MXN$ 525 million of the ordinary campaign expenses granted to the political parties under a federal registration, funds which have been transferred to a reconstruction fund.

According to the information available, this is the contribution chart for all political parties:

 Political Party  Funds donated (in MXN)
 Center-right Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)  $ 258.6 million
 Conservative National Action Party (PAN)  $ 195 million
 Center-right Green Party (PVEM)  $ 10.5 million
 Center-left Citizen's Movement Party (MC)  $ 50.9 million
 conservative Social Encounter Party (PES)  $ 10.2 million
 Total  $ 525.3 million

Independent candidate Margarita Zavala, since April 13, sent a cheque for MXN$ 2.3 million to the INE together with a letter, asking for the resources she is rightfully entitled to as an official independent candidate to be returned for the reconstruction of schools, hospitals, and social housing projects.

The other independent candidate, Jaime Ródriguez Calderón (El Bronco) officially renounced to his public funds on April 24 – two days after the presidential debate, where he challenged all candidates to renounce to their campaign funds.

How does this return work?

The INE explained to news outlet Animal Político that the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit has established a procedure to return the public funds for this concept and to forward them to the earthquake victims, which consists in a written notification sent to the INE, stating their renounce to the funds and the request for such resources to be transferred to the victims.

The INE, in turn, notifies the Ministry of Finance, agency which then makes the necessary adjustments.

There are two possible categories for the funds: as a contribution to the Natural Disaster Fund (FONDEN) or as a contribution to the Reconstruction Fund for Federal Entities (FONREC), managed by the National Bank for Public Works and Services (BANOBRAS).

Each political party decided to whom they would forward the money. The political parties PAN and MC forwarded their funds to the FONDEN, while the PRI, PVEM and the PES to the FONREC; however, the PRI asked its donation to be assigned directly to the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Mexico City.

MORENA campaign funds

During the first presidential debate (and in campaign events), Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) claimed that his party, the left National Regeneration Party (MORENA), was already donating half of their “campaign prerogatives” to the earthquake victims for the amount of MXN$103 million.

However, the trust fund committee of the MORENA party clarified they haven't received the campaign funds granted by the INE, only private donations.

“Thus far, [López Obrador] hasn't officially wavered his funds, and neither has he notified any authority of his intention to do so,” said Pablo Mendoza Mejía, coordinator of Management and Follow-up of the Prerrogative Department of the INE.

The party's trust fund explained that their current funds “come from MORENA sympathizers and from López Obrador himself, as an individual. There are voluntary contributions and legislators (deputies and senators) have contributed with their shares. We're not handling public resources.”

The trust fund of the MORENA party is overseen by writers Pedro Miguel, Paco Ignacio Taibo, Elena Poniatowska, and Elena Esquivel, in addition to lawyer Julio Scherer and the priest Alejandro Solalinde.

*With information from Ernesto Aroche, Itxaro Arteta, Manu Ureste, and Agustín Salgado, first published in Verificado 2018.



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