The lump sum for the functioning of the parliamentary office is PLN 19,000 per month. Thanks to the reports, we know what MEPs spend this money on. However, some purchases raise doubts. Material of the magazine “Polska i Świat”.
In the case of MPs, questions about their purchases are not out of place – they are even advisable, because MPs have taxpayers’ money at their disposal.
Adam Szłapka from the Civic Coalition, when asked about the rostrum for PLN 1,570, replies: it is a structure, more of a rostrum than a rostrum, which we use to run a mobile parliamentary office. Anita Sowińska from Lewica, when asked about a drone for PLN 726, explains: it is not a drone, but a gimbal – a phone holder, which we use, of course, at work.
In last year’s expenses of MPs, we also find, for example, a corner coffer, which Jacek Żalek’s parliamentary office cost nearly PLN 8,000, and mobile phones at a similar price. Envoy Franciszek Sterczewski from the Civic Coalition, it is explained that the previous phone broke down, and after the lockdown, access to various models was difficult. “The only model I could have on hand was this one,” he explains.
In turn, MP Marcin Kulasek from the Left explains that the phone bought for nearly PLN 8,000 is intensively used in MP’s work, and its brand, according to experts, guarantees security.
They spend a lot on flowers
The lump sum for the functioning of the parliamentary office is PLN 19,000 per month. Thanks to the reports, we know what MEPs spend this money on. However, there are many flowers in these reports.
PiS MP Kazimierz Gołojuch spent nearly PLN 20,000 on flowers and bouquets for holidays and state celebrations last year. Antoni Macierewicz over PLN 14,000. In turn, Dariusz Olszewski from PiS spent over PLN 21,000 on flowers, statuettes and diplomas.
– It’s not just flowers. Around PLN 7,000 is spent on bouquets. On the other hand, I invite you to parliamentary duty every Monday with the national flag – says Dariusz Olszewski. – We distribute flags practically everywhere we can – he adds. In 2022, the flags cost the MP’s office PLN 6,000.
As we read on the Sejm’s website, the lump sum may be paid, among others, for: rent, energy, cleaning work or the purchase of office supplies. But the lump sum cannot be used for electoral campaigning. “It’s not MPs’ or senators’ money, it’s taxpayers’ money. Out of respect for taxpayers and voters, they should spend this money in a way that makes sense – says Grzegorz Makowski from the Stefan Batory Foundation.
The reports also include car rental expenses. Law and Justice MP Monika Pawłowska spent over PLN 75,000 on this in a year. In response to our questions, he writes about problems with his own car and the need to rent another one, but he has more vehicles.
“I also rent a bus, which is my mobile MP’s office (I can have a printer in it and easily transport materials, and above all my colleagues),” explains the MP.
In the case of MP Smoliński, renting a car is over PLN 47,000. – I was surprised by the amount of the fee involved in the last year due to the increase in the costs associated with it inflation says the PiS politician.
Doubtful purchases of politicians
Questions are also raised by the purchase of several phones when only one employee is listed. This is the case with PiS MP Maciej Małecki and Civic Coalition MP Jan Grabiec.
– If a politician buys a phone and uses it in his public activities, it’s ok. But if he buys a phone and gives it to his son, it already means that he is breaking the law – indicates political scientist Szymon Ossowski.
– The office employs one employee under an employment contract and three employees under a contract of mandate. In addition, I have several co-workers who cooperate with the office, so all equipment is used on an ongoing basis – explains Jan Grabiec.
In the reports on the expenditure of the lump sum, we will also find, among others, a painting for almost a thousand zlotys or a clothes steamer.
Law and Justice MP Ewa Kozanecka bought three sets of garden balls for her parliamentary office. Internet users, however, noticed that such balls can be seen in the photos of the MP from spring cleaning in the garden. Ewa Kozanecka did not answer questions about this expense.
Main photo source: PAP/Piotr Nowak