Vast amounts spent on effectively secret MPs’ aides
The civic network OPORA has drawn attention to the questionable situation where public funding is allocated to pay MPs substantial amounts for “assistants”, yet the public and media are refused information about who these assistants are.
Each MP receives around 240 thousand UAH [roughly 24 thousand EUR] to pay assistants. OPORA says that one MP will normally have three paid assistants and 7 working as volunteers, this meaning that 30.3 % of such assistants receive public funding.
The Verkhovna Rada’s administrative structure has consistently refused to provide details – even the names – of these assistants. It cites the Data Protection Act as grounds for this secrecy.
OPORA, however, insists that such lack of transparency can fuel abuse of the system and such assistants’ status, and is unacceptable with respect to public funding.
It calls on MPs to make information public themselves, explaining which of their assistants are paid and which work on a voluntary basis. It cites the experience of other countries, such as Poland and Slovenia where such information is not concealed, as well as a salutary case from Bulgaria. In the latter country there was a scandal after it was discovered that criminal bosses were supposedly volunteer advisers to MPs.