Rich Candidates Pay Their Own Way

Many candidates in the recent elections filled their war chests from their own pockets, an audit of political contributions revealed. Zalman Shoval (Likud), a co-owner of Bank of Jerusalem, gave himself campaign funding of NIS 660,000 - and exceeded the Likud party's expense limit. Shoval argued that his expenses of NIS 444,450 were in fact self-financed. The State Comptroller nevertheless ordered him to pay the state NIS 12,000.

Labor candidate Einat Wilf gave NIS 350,000 to herself from her private resources. Avi Shaked (Labor), owner of the gambling Web site 888, chalked up a NIS 40,931 bill which he has announced he would cover from his own pocket and contributions from family members. The State Comptroller, who found that Shaked had not kept accounts as instructed when he withdrew funds from the bank account designated to election expenses, levied a NIS 19,100 fine on him. Businesswoman and former MK Pnina Rosenblum (Likud) reported no revenue. Her expenses during the primaries totaled NIS 100,649. Rosenblum was fined NIS 1,500 for submitting her report late.

Businesswoman Galia Albin (Kadima) donated NIS 100,000 to herself, and spent NIS 98,000. Nevertheless, the comptroller sent her a warning after she neglected to open an account that the bank designated for the election campaign, withdrew more than permissible with no written contract, and failed to keep proper books as required. Minister Dan Meridor (Likud) reported that he raised contributions totaling NIS 87,000, financed by himself and family members MK Orit Zuaretz (Kadima) donated NIS 124,625 to herself.