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Just three out of 32 MEP candidates declare income from donations

Eleven candidates, the majority Labour candidates, failed to submit copies of receipts of the expenses they claimed to have incurred while Alternattiva Demokratika’s Carmel Cacopardo and Labour candidate Peter Cordina claimed to have incurred no expenses at all.

miriam
Miriam Dalli
23 July 2014, 7:16am
Hey big spender... Ray Bugeja, the PN candidate, spent over €18,000 during his campaign according to his declarations.
Hey big spender... Ray Bugeja, the PN candidate, spent over €18,000 during his campaign according to his declarations.
One of Ray Bugeja's campaign events: catering was also provided by his own company.
One of Ray Bugeja's campaign events: catering was also provided by his own company.
Candidates ranked by order of first-count votes received

€0 2,394€0€1,009 7,099€1,009€1,320 239€1,320€1,720 202€1,720€10,011 23,479€10,011€10,137 2,087€10,137€143 512€143€15,229 7,859€15,229€16,365 13,484€16,365€16,407 48,739€16,407€17,409 7,268€17,409€17,572 32,360€17,572€17,666 14,057€17,666€17,667 8,660€17,667€17,789 2,976€17,789€18,292 10,461€18,292€18,442 7,846€18,442€2,300 1,297€2,300€207 5,891€207€220 106€220€3,319 1,595€3,319€350 5,983€350€393 452€393€5,800 6,719€5,800€6,848 776€6,848€7,045 1,238€7,045€7,076 5,415€7,076€8,745 19,582€8,745€9,139 5,663€9,139€917 6,205€917€940 1,208€940A Calleja 239A CallejaAlfred Sant 48,739Alfred SantAntoine Galea 106Antoine GaleaArlette Baldacchino 452Arlette BaldacchinoArnold Cassola 5,891Arnold CassolaCarmel Cacopardo 1,526Carmel CacopardoCharlon Gouder 6,719Charlon GouderClint Camilleri 13,484Clint CamilleriDavid Casa 19,582David CasaDeborah Schembri 5,983Deborah SchembriFleur Vella 512Fleur VellaFrancis Zammit Dimech 8,660Francis Zammit DimechHelga Ellul 2,976Helga EllulIvan Grech Mintoff 776Ivan Grech MintoffIvan Grixti 1,595Ivan GrixtiJean-Pierre Sammut 202Jean-Pierre SammutJonathan Shaw 2,087Jonathan ShawJoseph Cuschieri 10,461Joseph CuschieriKevin Cutajar 5,415Kevin CutajarKevin Plumpton 1,238Kevin PlumptonLino Bianco 7,268Lino BiancoMario Farrugia Borg 1,297Mario Farrugia BorgMarlene Mizzi 14,057Marlene MizziMiriam Dalli 23,479Miriam DalliNazzareno Bonnici 1,208Nazzareno BonniciNorman Lowell 6,205Norman LowellNorman Vella 7,099Norman VellaPeter Cordina 868Peter CordinaRaymond Bugeja 7,846Raymond BugejaRoberta Metsola 32,360Roberta MetsolaStefano Mallia 5,663Stefano MalliaTherese Commodini Cachia 7,859Therese Commodini CachiaAlleanza Bidla 1,015Alleanza BidlaAlpha 202AlphaAlternattiva Demokratika 7,417Alternattiva DemokratikaImperium Europa 6,763Imperium EuropaLabour 134,462LabourNationalist 100,785NationalistTal-Ajkla 1,208Tal-Ajkla
Only three out of 32 candidates for the European Parliament elections of last May declared they received donations during the electoral campaign, according to the declarations of return of election expenses submitted to the Electoral Commission.

The three candidates who submitted this information were Tal-Ajkla candidate Nazzareno Bonnici – who collected €400 from corner meetings – Imperium Europa’s Norman Lowell – who collected €517 from three political activities and SMS donations – and Labour candidate Ivan Grixti who received €1,410 from fund-raising activities and two donors.

Candidates are obliged by law to submit a return of election expenses to the Electoral Commission, together with receipts. The formula provided by the Electoral Commission includes a breakdown of printing, advertising, stationery, postage, telegrams, rooms hired either for public meetings or as committee rooms and any other miscellaneous expenses, whether paid or incurred.

In this diagram, the candidate with the bigger circle and the lighter shade got the most 'bang for their buck' Alfred Sant (E)Anthony CallejaAntoine GaleaArlette BaldacchinoArnold CassolaCarmel CacopardoCharlon GouderClint CamilleriDavid Casa (E)Deborah SchembriFleur VellaFrancis Zammit DimechHelga EllulIvan Grech MintoffIvan GrixtiJean-Pierre SammutJonathan ShawJoseph CuschieriKevin CutajarKevin PlumptonLino BiancoMario Farrugia BorgMarlene Mizzi (E)Miriam Dalli (E)Nazzareno BonniciNorman LowellNorman VellaPeter CordinaRaymond BugejaRoberta Metsola (E)Stefano MalliaTherese Commodini Cachia (E) But it is clear that the template for declaring electoral returns offers great leeway to the candidates to declare any sort of expense they want: not everyone provides receipts, for instance.

Eleven candidates, the majority Labour candidates, failed to submit copies of receipts of the expenses they claimed to have incurred while Alternattiva Demokratika’s Carmel Cacopardo and Labour candidate Peter Cordina claimed to have incurred no expenses at all.

With a capping of €18,635 per candidate, the biggest spender turned out to be PN candidate Ray Bugeja who claimed to have spent €18,442.26. Bugeja, known to have thrown big receptions in the run up to the elections, did not submit VAT receipts but a list of expenses he claimed to have incurred. The list of expenses varies from the editing of a video clip to replacement of lost power adapters, makeup, cakes for Dar Centrali, a fine, lunch at a Gozo Hotel and the usual advertising and printing expenses.

In fact, all candidates spent a collective €46,735 and €68,663 in printing and advertising expenses respectively. Candidates were also keen on spending literally thousands on postage with Francis Zammit Dimech (PN) topping the list at €9,228 followed by PN candidate Helga Ellul (€5,265), PN MEP David Casa (€4,680), former Labour MEP Joseph Cuschieri (€4,592) and Labour MEP Alfred Sant (€3,504).

Only nine candidates reported to have paid for Facebook adverts with Labour candidate Lino Bianco topping the list at €2,574.50. PN candidate Stefano Mallia reported to have paid €847.46 in a Google display campaign. Together the nine candidates spent €8,246.05 in Facebook ads.

Alfred Sant, who spent €8,136.02 in printing expenses alone, also spent €1,322 on personalised wristbands.

Alleanza Liberali’s Jean Pierre Sammut also listed a €1,170 trip to Vienna, Austria, for a rally of the Liberals as an expense.

The cost of winning

An analysis of the candidates’ spending also shows that it is not the amount of money spent in the campaign that ultimately counts but the target audience and the candidate’s message.

A push by the party’s electoral campaign doesn’t hurt either.

All of the biggest spenders, with the exception of Roberta Metsola (€17,572) and Marlene Mizzi (€17,666), who were both returned, failed to get elected. The biggest spenders were Ray Bugeja (€18,442), Joseph Cuschieri (€18,292), Helga Ellul (€17,789) and Francis Zammit Dimech (€17,667).

25-year-old Clint Camilleri spent €16,365.

The elected candidates were Therese Comodini Cachia (€15,229), Roberta Metsola, David Casa (€8,745.30), Miriam Dalli (€10,011), Marlene Mizzi and Alfred Sant (€16,407).

European Parliament candidates, listed in order of the size of their first-count votes, with their respective campaign spend.

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...