Poland ruling party allegedly financed politics from charity


WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s opposition lawmakers on Thursday demanded explanations from the ruling party about reports that one of its regional offices used donations for the Red Cross to finance its parliamentary campaign.

Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported recently that Red Cross funds raised from the sale of donated clothes were used to finance the 2015 campaign of the Law and Justice party’s regional candidates in southwestern Poland’s Wroclaw region. It also quoted unnamed witnesses as saying that donated food was used in the campaign.

Law and Justice politicians were in charge of the charity at the time.

Malgorzata Klaus, a spokeswoman for Wroclaw prosecutors, says that Education Minister Anna Zalewska is to be questioned about allegations that her campaign was financed that way.

Opposition Civic Platform lawmakers on Thursday demanded explanations from Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who is also the prosecutor general.

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European Council head and Poland’s former prime minister, Donald Tusk, said in an interview on TVN24 that if true, the allegations were a glaring example of corruption among political elites.

It is the latest in a series of image problems for the ruling party ahead of elections to the European and national parliaments this year. Other problems include allegations that the party’s powerful leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski was involved in illegal business negotiations and that he solicited a bribe from a businessman.

Political parties in Poland are banned from doing business or drawing funds from business.

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