The Standards in Public Office Commission have ordered Amnesty Ireland to return €137,000 it received from the George Soros group Open Society Foundation to campaign for repeal of the 8th Amendment in Ireland.
SIPOC claims that Amnesty are in breach of the Electoral Act 1997 (amended in 2001) which places restrictions and reporting obligations on individuals or groups beyond political parties or election candidates, called “third parties”. A “third party” means any individual or group who accepts donation for “political purposes” exceeding the value of €100. The definition of “political purposes” includes “any campaign conducted with a view to promoting or procuring a particular outcome in relation to a policy or policies or functions of the Government or any public authority”. According to this law, organisations deemed a “third party” cannot accept a donation from a foreign source.
Amnesty have been informed that they will be reported to the Gardaí and prosecuted if they fail to return the money. The penalty on conviction could be up to 3 years imprisonment.
Amnesty claim that because their work is for human rights, that the law does not apply to them and they are campaigning to have it changed.
They also said that they will not be returning the Soros funding.
See their full statement here: https://www.amnesty.ie/civil-society...r#BraveIreland