Less than 24 hours since Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador suggested that there is a ‘blank cheque’ for establishing peace within the country, it has come to light that the President-elect’s party (Morena) will also be challenging a large fine they received for breaking campaign finance laws in the recent election.
The party is facing a $10 million fine from the National Electoral Institute (INE) for irregularities in the handling of a trust created for victims of last year’s earthquake.
According to a report from the BBC, the fine was issued against the party – who campaigned relentlessly to quash corruption in Mexico – because they did not declare where the trust money was going. The trust is believed to support victims of Mexico’s devastating earthquake and had raised a total of over 78.8 million Mexican pesos ($4.1m) however this counters Mexican laws where parties are banned from giving cash handouts to potential voters. According to sources who spoke to Reuters, the trust was named ‘For The Others’ and it has also since been revealed that the majority of money that went into the trust was in cash, although cheques and transfers also contributed to the total amount.
The opposition party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who experienced staggering losses in the recent election, had brought this to the attention of the INE. They have claimed that the trust was utilised to direct public funds into added campaigning.
Amongst claims from Morena party members that they did not break laws, the size of the fine is also going to be challenged by the party. According to Reuters, it is both the largest penalty any political party has received this year and amounts to nearly the equivalent amount that Morena received in public financing.
In a statement, Morena representative Horacio Duarte has suggested that the INE is politically attempting to undermine the new party and the electoral tribunal will be brought in to try and dismiss the fine.
Since the fine was imposed, three days after the party won the election, AMLO has fervently stood by taking the fine to court in order to battle the large sum.
It is also not the only party to be facing fines for improper behaviour throughout the electoral campaign with the National Action Party (PAN) fined 3 million pesos for illegally accepting private donations.
The PRI is also facing a 36.5 million peso charge for funnelling amounts of workers salaries into party funds.