Study: MK Sneh Spent Largest Sum on Establishing Ties With Public

MKs are allotted a certain sum each year for items related to public contact, such as office equipment and professional literature.

The member of Knesset to have expended the most money under the official realm of establishing contact with the public is Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, who has spent NIS 81,364 over the course of his term, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Knesset.

According to the report, MK Ophir Pines Paz (Labor) spent the second largest sum, having expended NIS 73,650.

Members of Knesset who rent a parliamentary office are entitled to spend NIS 68,000 per year on establishing relations with the public. MKs who do not rent office space are allowed to spend NIS 49,000 per year. Though these numbers represent permitted yearly expenditures, MKs are allowed each year to add to their budget surplus funds from previous years.

Over the years, funds allocated toward establishing contact with the public have gone toward purchasing merchandise such as satellite navigation tools, cameras, slide projectors, palm pilots, video equipment, and even espresso machines.

In recent years, MKs have been prohibited from spending the budget allocated for public contact on airfare for conferences, slide projectors, navigation tools and digital cameras. They have also been forbidden from sending personal letters adorned with party symbols on the letterhead.

Members of Knesset are currently permitted to use the allotted budget solely for the following purchases: one television set, an office refrigerator, an electronic diary, a beeper for themselves and their parliamentary aide, office furniture and supplies, materials for learning languages, sending flowers, mail, light refreshments for the office, professional literature and advertisements, newspapers and subscriptions to other periodicals, registration and hotel fees for work-related conferences held in Israel, printing services, internet fees, and cellular phone fees for themselves and their parliamentary aides.