The State Audit Office of Hungary (ÁSZ) found no irregularities in the political campaign of Zsófia Koncz, the MP of governing Fidesz elected last year in a by-election, even though during her campaign she spent more money just on Facebook ads than her total allowance, according to a report by RTL Klub News.
The governing party candidate Zsófia Koncz won the by-election in the Borsod 6 constituency in northeast Hungary last October after her father, the former representative of the constituency, had died in a tragic motorcycle accident.
The by-election had high-stakes, as formally ruling Fidesz’s constitutional majority in parliament depended on it, while the main opposition parties backed one single candidate against Koncz.
As a result, the political parties were engaged in a very intense campaign.
Under the current regulations, a candidate can spend a total of HUF 5 million (EUR 14,101), but Zsófia Koncz has exceeded this just with the HUF 5.6 million she paid for Facebook ads.
“Added to this are additional campaign tools, posters, fliers. An ordinary citizen can tell that the candidate has spent more on her campaign than she is legally allowed to, said Miklós M. Merényi,” an analyst at anti-corruption civil organization K-Monitor.
K-Monitor, similarly to several other NGOs, filed a complaint to the Audit Office.
During the investigation, ÁSZ however, concluded that the candidate had spent the money in accordance with regulations. But the Audit Office did not take Facebook ads into account at all.
“Advertising on social media cannot be confined within the current domestic legislation on political advertising,” ÁSZ stated.
The State Audit Office said that it already suggested last year that the legislation should be changed, but according to the body, no party or NGO has responded to their suggestion.
The State Audit Office and its president, formerly a Fidesz MP, László Domokos, are regularly the subject of intense criticism, as the independence of the organization is often questioned. Many see the actions of ÁSZ as politically motivated, only willing to launch thorough investigations and impose severe penalties when it comes to opposition party spending.
In the Featured photo: Fidesz MP Zsófia Koncz. Photo by János Vajda/MTI