Summary re Amnesty prosecution for accepting funds for political campaigning in Ireland contract to Electoral Act 1997.

The Standards in Public Office commission (SIPO) has (13/12/2017) instructed Amnesty International to return a €137,000 donation from the Soros-funded Open Society Foundation.

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Amnesty International Ireland is being threatened with criminal charges after SIPO found it illegally sought and received money from Open Society Foundation to campaign for legalised abortion in Ireland. SIPO stated that it changed its previous position after receiving further documentation from Open Society Foundation showing an intent by the Open Society Foundations to engage in political campaigning in Ireland which is prohibited by law. You can read the The Standards in Public Office here.

Ireland’s Standards in Public Office Commission confirmed that the $161,000 (€137,000) grant from Soros’ Open Society Foundations to Amnesty is a violation of the 1997 Electoral Act. The Commission warned Amnesty that it may face criminal charges and up to three years imprisonment if it does not return the money.

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Electoral Act combats the unfair dominance of wealthy foreign interests by prohibiting outside political donations over €100.

Amnesty admitted to taking the grant, but argued that Ireland’s law against receiving large foreign money to further political causes was “unfair.” It said it would disobey any court order to give back the money.

Amnesty’s abortion campaign in Ireland comes months before the country is expected to hold a referendum on whether to safeguard or reject the 8th Amendment to the country’s Constitution that prohibits abortion. The referendum is expected to take place in the summer of 2018.

Other organizations, the Abortion Rights Campaign and the Irish Family Planning Association, also received Soros-based money. The Standards in Public Office Commission ordered them to refund the donation, and the former did and the latter is considering it.