External-auditor checks on party funding reinstated

Removal of measure sparked furore

External-auditor checks on party funding reinstated

(ANSA) - Rome, September 19 - An obligation for Italian political parties to have external auditors certify their budgets was reinstated Wednesday into a new draft of House regulations on financial transparency. A furore exploded on Tuesday when it emerged that a proposal House Speaker Gianfranco Fini made in this regard in July did not feature in a draft prepared to go to a parliamentary commission before the regulations go to the floor of the House. The measure was reportedly removed because lawmakers drafting the regulations feared it would impeach on the principle that constitutional bodies such the houses of parliament should be self-regulated. Critics said its removal would have fed public disaffection with the nation's political class following a series of scandals hitting various parts of the party spectrum. "The principle that the parliamentary parties' budgets are verified by external companies has returned," said Fini's spokesperson. Several parties, including the main centre-left Democratic Party and the centrist Catholic UDC, had said they would have their party budgets scrutinized by external auditors even if this was not obligatory. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party did not.

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