Buenos Aires Times

argentina FUNDACION FORMAR

Foundation tied to Transport Minister donated to Macri campaign: report

Minister Guillermo Dietrich plays down suggestions the foundation he presided broke electoral laws.

Wednesday 9 January, 2019
Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich announces the increases in public transport fares across Buenos Aires at a press conference on Wednesday January 3, 2017.
Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich announces the increases in public transport fares across Buenos Aires at a press conference on Wednesday January 3, 2017. Foto:@guillodietrich

Argentina's electoral laws prohibit foundations with ties to politicians from donating to election campaigns.

However, it seems the Fundación Formar ignored that rule. The entity's president was Guillermo Dietrich, who maintained his position until 2017, in other words: during most of his first two years as Macri's Transport Minister.

The entity fundraised $2.7 million in the 2015/16 financial year, according to financial statements obtained by Noticias magazine. "It is worth noting several training events for the general election of October 25, 2017", a fundraising report revealed. It was signed by Dietrich himself.

"People from the private sector are eventually sought to take on roles in one government or another", Dietrich told Noticias, which broke the story, when asked about the foundation's activities.

"As legal entities, foundations are prohibited from giving to election campaigns", said Delia Ferreira Rubio, the president of Transparency International.

Fundación Formar was rebranded in 2017, upon Dietrich's departure, as Compromiso for lo Publico. Artist Flavia Martini was appointed president.

In the 2016/2017 accounts, Martini's signature appeared on $1.6 million in donations to the Macri campaign.

LATEST TWIST

The Macri government, which ran a heavy transparency and anti-corruption agenda in the 2015 general and 2017 mid-term elections, was caught up in a number of scandals in 2018 involving its campaign finances.

An electoral court is currently investigating allegations of money laundering by the governing coalition during its 2017 mid-term campaign.

It centres on allegations the Cambiemos (Let's Change) coalition laundered money to strengthen its campaign in Buenos Aires province by falsifying donation receipts using the names and details of low-income welfare recipients.

In December, the case moved from federal to electoral jurisdiction, which observers saw as a win for the government.

"The courts have decided the jurisdiction after a process that lasted months. We presented our partial findings to the Ombudsman, which I ordered, and I hope it keeps moving forward in the Judiciary", Buenos Aires Governor María Eugenia Vidal told Perfil in December.

"I have shown my face from day one and done what I had to do. I requested an audit, I removed those responsible for the campaign's accounting and I rest easy knowing that anything can be investigated".

-TIMES/NOTICIAS

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