Fidesz-tied civil organization received HUF 508 million from state-owned company

May 11, 2017

As government officials continue to insist on the need for more transparency in the funding of civil organizations in Hungary, one Fidesz-tied civil organization is on a major money-making winning streak, with transparency, as it were, nowhere in sight.

Investigative journalism NGO atlatszo.hu reported Thursday that Hungary’s state-owned electricity company MVM had disclosed through a public information request that in 2016 it contributed HUF 508 million (USD 1.77 million) to the Civil Unity Forum (CÖF), a Fidesz-aligned political organization which also receives major contributions from Fidesz’s political foundation.

Weekly news magazine hvg.hu earlier asked CÖF’s supporting foundation CÖKA precisely how much the state-owned MVM contributed to the organization, and what that public money was used for. CÖF, however, would not reveal how much it had received or disclose for what purposes it uses the generous contributions.

Atlatszo.hu also asked CÖKA to disclose any other public funds contributions it has received since 2010 from state-owned companies. CÖKA has not responded.

News site 444.hu reached CÖF founder and president László Csizmadia by telephone and asked what the more than half billion forints would be used for, but received no valuable response. Csizmadia declined to answer why CÖKA had not publicly disclosed the contributions it had received from MVM.