“We do not have the tools necessary to investigate the «Fairness in Courts» campaign of the Polish National Foundation,” said Wojciech Hermeliński, head of the National Electoral Commission on Monday. The motion to carry out such an investigation was submitted by Nowoczesna.
Nowoczesna wanted the National Electoral Commission to investigate the potential breach of regulations on the funding of political parties.
“At this stage we do not have the tools necessary to verify and check if this billboard campaign violates the electoral code or the act on political parties,” said Hermeliński.
He explained that “the National Electoral Commission will be in a position to act as soon as the electoral campaign has begun,” but this – he stressed – will not happen before August or July of next year.
“Only then will the National Electoral Commission be free to investigate, whether the billboard campaign fell within the bounds of the electoral campaign, but in practice only after we receive reports from all the parties will we be able to assess whether the billboard campaign had any impact, if it contributed to the electoral success of any party,” he said.
According to its authors, the aim of the “Fairness in Courts” campaign of the Polish National Foundation is to inform public opinion in Poland and around the world about the need to reform the judiciary in Poland and to show that it is in line with the world's democratic heritage.
The billboards “Let nothing change. Are you sure this is what you want?” that have already appeared in the streets are part of a television, Internet and outdoor campaign. Facebook and Twitter profiles, as well as a Youtube channel have also been set up.
The campaign budget amounts to PLN 19 million. A new company called Solvere, created by former associates of Prime Minister Beata Szydło, is responsible for the campaign's implementation.
The Polish National Foundation was established in 2016 by 17 CEOs of companies owned by the Treasury, on the initiative of the then Minister of the Treasury, Dawid Jackiewicz, and Prime Minister Beata Szydło. It commands a budget of PLN 100 million, consisting of contributions from the 17 companies. Its mission is to build a positive image for Poland domestically and abroad.
The opposition wants an audit
Nowoczesna sent a letter to the chairman of the National Electoral Commission, demanding an audit and investigation of the question whether the Polish National Foundation violated the act on political parties and the act on funding of political parties.
Nowoczesna also notified the prosecutor’s office and the Supreme Audit Office. Platforma Obywatelska submitted a request to the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau to investigate the alleged abuses committed by the Polish National Foundation.