The National Electoral Council (CNE) has reported that more than 300 officials have not reported their campaign expenses. The deadline for political parties in Colombia to present their campaign expenses and income in the clear accounts application of the CNE ended on November 29, 2023. However, a significant number of elected officials have not yet fulfilled this obligation.
According to Judge César Lorduy of the CNE, at least 337 officials elected in 2023 through popular vote have not registered their accounts. Although all candidates are required by law to report their accounts, elected officials have an additional responsibility, given that they now hold public office.
Of the officials who have not fulfilled their obligations, 201 are councilors, 128 are councilors, 5 are mayors, and 3 are deputies. It is worth mentioning that all elected governors have already complied with this obligation. The political party that has shown the greatest non-compliance, according to the entity, is the Conservative Party, since none of the 94 officials supported by this group have presented their report.
Magistrate Lorduy also examined the cases of non-compliance by department: it is observed that the territories with the largest number of elected officials who have not yet submitted their report are Antioquia (51), Tolima (24), Nariño (21), La Guajira (20), Magdalena (20), and Sucre (20).
According to the report made based on the clear accounts application, women had fewer resources to campaign than men. Of the total of 671,445 million pesos that went into the campaigns, only 143,874 million went to women, that is, 21.4%. This, despite the fact that they represented almost 40% of the candidates.
Each political party must present a report to the CNE with the endorsed candidates who did not comply with the obligation to timely submit their individual report of campaign income and expenses. This measure, dictated by CNE Resolution No. 4737 of July 5, 2023, requires that these reports be presented within 15 days after December 29, 2023.
Failure to comply with this obligation entails severe consequences for candidates and campaign managers. The CNE, with verification tools, can determine who complied or failed to comply with this responsibility. Those who did not present their individual report are exposed to administrative investigations that could result in economic sanctions ranging from just over 18 million pesos to 184 million pesos.
In addition, political parties can apply administrative sanctions established in their internal statutes, including the cancellation of the affiliation of non-compliant candidates. Candidates who did not present their report will not be able to access to the replacement of votes granted by the State; they will not be able to obtain monetary compensation for campaign expenses, even if they meet other requirements.
Campaigns that exceeded the spending limit established by the CNE can access this compensation. In fact, those who have exceeded the established limits will be subject to fines imposed by the CNE and could face legal action, since this conduct is classified in the Penal Code. The CNE will also send copies to the competent authorities to carry out the pertinent investigations.
Given this situation, political parties and movements must comply with the obligation to report non-compliant candidates, guaranteeing transparency and legality in the country’s electoral processes. The CNE urges all elected officials to fulfill their responsibilities and present their campaign expense reports in the Clear Accounts application to guarantee transparency and accountability in the electoral process.
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