With respect to the queries received the State Audit Office of Hungary (SAO), the institution issues the following communication. The State Audit Office of Hungary has made preparations for the ex-post audit of the election campaign, and will carry out, in accordance with the law in force a thorough audit on the accounting for the campaign funds. We emphasize that the SAO is an independent office which does not take part in political struggle. We kindly ask political participants to respect the independence of the SAO’s audit activities.
Press release of SAO on the ex-post audit of the election campaign
2014. 02. 19. 12:29
The State Audit Office of Hungary is the supreme audit institution of the National Assembly, a fundamental and independent institution of the democratic government system. Through its audits on the public funds, the SAO makes it possible for the society to be informed on the use of taxpayers’ money. Thus, the SAO is standing on the citizens’ side, serving the Hungarian people.
We have to remind that the SAO is not an investigative authority or a court of law. It does not impose fines and introduce regulations, does not decide on legal debates, and does not carry out investigations. The SAO carries out ex-post audits on the basis of a publicly available audit plan, detailed audit programs and audit methods, for which demanding international standards are considered guiding.
Besides, we treat all queries, requests and initiatives as indication of possible problems. They are taken into account, utilized by and incorporated into the risk analysis activity during the audit planning phase. We emphasize, however, that the SAO does not conduct any public authority activities, does not carry out ‘extraordinary’ examinations, does not issue any opinion on matters requiring an interpretation of law. The SAO acts in accordance with the legislation in force, as a body applying the law.
The objective of the audit to be carried out after the election is to establish whether the constituency MP candidates, the political parties, and national minority self-governments, which drew up a list of their candidates, complied with the rules on campaign finances. After the election the SAO will carry out ex-post examinations ex officio at the Hungarian State Treasury, the nominating organisations obtaining seat(s) in the National Assembly, and also at constituency MP candidates who became MPs, focusing on the statutorily defined accounting rules.
The SAO examines whether constituency MP candidates obtaining a parliamentary seat, as well as other candidates upon request, spent the financial support of HUF 1 million, as granted from Hungary’s central budget, on expenditures related to election campaign activity. The SAO examines the accounts for this budgetary support and the accounts for the maximum spendable amount of election funds, which is HUF 5 million per candidate, also at the nominating organisations obtaining parliamentary seat(s), as well as other nominating organisations upon request.
Pursuant to law, the spending of MP candidates or nominating organisations not obtaining parliamentary seat will only be audited by the SAO upon request by another candidate or another nominating organisation. Such request can be submitted within three months after the election with attaching the offer of evidence.
Finally, we emphasize that the State Audit Office of Hungary is an independent organisation, which does not take part in political struggles. Therefore, we strongly ask political players who define themselves as democratic ones, to respect the independence of the State Audit Office of Hungary and its President, not use this institution and its leaders for their campaign purposes and not influence the SAO’s independent audit activity.