Sinn Fein’s curious arthimetic

Pat Leahy says that in the Republic the size of Sinn Fein’s campaigns and the money they claim to have spent don’t square. Election law on the declaration of finances does not compell parties to be transparent about incomings and outgoings. The party calms it benefits from a high degree of volunteerism. But with the law allowing for such lattitude in accounting and official figures suggesting that Fianna Fail spent 200 times more than it in the council elections, it will have a hard time convincing sceptics.There are plenty of accusations, but little in the way of concrete evidence of any mis-reporting. He notes the party’s policy of party members with political salaries donating a large amount of it to the party coffers. In some cases this requires them to take a severe cut in earnings from previous non political jobs.

However, he questions the plausibility of past figures lodged as over-seas funding in the US:

Sinn Féin has been raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in the US (and elsewhere) for many years, through the party’s fundraising arm, Friends of Sinn Féin. The national party’s accounts for 2003 shows “donations’‘ of just €464,000. But ten days ago in New York, over 1,000 people paid $500 a head at a Sinn Féin fundraiser. That’s half a million dollars in income for just one event. Where does it end up? The more you look at the Sinn Féin sums, the more curious they look.

  • John East Belfast

    I wonder where all that dirty money is washed ?

  • Henry94

    But ten days ago in New York, over 1,000 people paid $500 a head at a Sinn Féin fundraiser. That’s half a million dollars in income for just one event.

    That’s gross. But when you take out the cost of putting on such an event the actual figure that counts is a lot less.

  • Actually, the reports are that even with costs factored in FOSF expects to take in at least $400,000. And then he went on to Canada. More $£$.

  • Henry94

    Still no reason why this years events should be included in the 2003 accounts.

  • finn69

    I’m only guessing here but I’d say that FoSF have different accounts to SF as would any other organisation that raises funds for the party, so is the issue that these organisations don’t immediately transfer funds to SF or possibly retain a percentage for operating costs. No matter how many times this story comes up no jouno or other interested party mentions the accounts of these other organisations.

    A second point is although other political parties claim SF cannot possibly spend so little on electioneering they never actually show why they are forced to spend so much more. If FF FG Labour etal were to publish exactly were there money was spent and to who than the public would be able to make a comparison ie SF always claim to rely heavily on unpaid volunteers, surely its a simple excercise for others to publish if and what they pay their “volunteers”

    Basically surely the maxim “innocent until proven guilty” applies, if others claim it is impossible to run an election campaign for less than X amount the onus is on them to prove it not on SF. Having experienced FF ecectioneering back in the 80’s in Donegal I for one am very interested to see who received the €600,000 and for providing what services.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    There is an old “rubber chicken” in the accounting trade — a man invites a kindergarten teachers, a math professor and an accountant, seperately, to answer a question he has written down on a sheet of paper, the question being “what is 2+2?” The teacher walks in, picks it up, and say with a little laugh, “Don’t be silly, its four” and proceeds to explain that if she had 2 apples and the man had two apples, they would have four apples. The next one in is that mathematics professor, who looks at the paper and procedes to present a several page proof of the hypothesis that 2+2=4. Lastly, the accountant comes in, looks at the paper and pauses. He then gets up, closes the blinds, opens the door to see if anyone is listening, then closes the door, locking it. He walks over to the man and in a low voice whispers, “What do you want it to be??”

    As for the meat and potatos of the matter, I would point out there is the small matter of currency exchange, which will distort comparisons (apples to apples and all that) and, given the story above, a loose set of requirements that invites chicanery.