Buenos Aires Province Governor María Eugenia Vidal has downplayed accusations her political coalition committed electoral fraud, suggesting they form part of an opposition conspiracy.
“It’s a legal complaint lodged by Kirchnerites and it does not matter who it came from because we presented all of our paperwork”, she told reporters in the provincial locality of General Villegas, referring to the political movement of former presidents Néstor and Cristina Kirchner.
She said the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition’s 2017 mid-term election campaign for national Congressional candidates representing Buenos Aires province “had nothing to hide”.
“What’s important is that the financing laws for political parties have holes and deficiencies and that’s why we believe there should be a new law to ensure donations pass through the banking system, so there is no doubt about who donates”, she added.
Vidal is the first major Cambiemos representative to respond to media enquiries about the scandal.
The investigation into Cambiemos’ mid-term election campaign in Buenos Aires province centres on allegations it laundered money by falsifying donation receipts using the names and details of low-income welfare recipients.
Federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli has requested the auditing of campaign finances and an investigation into the structure of the campaign’s accounting and financial teams.
Four hundred people were listed as donors without knowing, with these fake donors appearing in financial statements as having given anywhere from AR$ 300 to AR$ 5,000, for a total of at least AR $300,000, the news site El Destape reported.
The money was then allegedly used to fund the campaigns of candidates Gladys González, Esteban Bullrich, Graciela Ocaña, and Héctor “Toty” Flores, all of whom won their respective races.
The complaint was made by the La Alameda political-activist group and picked up by the anti-Macri news platform El Destape.
One branch of case is currently in the hands of prosecutor Jorge Di Lello in Buenos Aires City and another with judge Sebastián Casanello. However, it may be moved to provincial jurisdiction, given the connections between the alleged laundering of funds and the 2017 election of candidates representing that province.