Rolling Dollars Scandal: Recent findings of the State Audit Office reveal the possibly illegal campaign spending of the Hungarian Left

According to the investigation conducted by the State Audit Office (ÁSZ), prime ministerial candidate Péter Márki-Zay’s association burned through nearly HUF 1.7 billion of foreign funds on their failed election campaign.

I have already written several articles on maybe one of the largest election scandals in Hungarian history, and yet, another not-so-shocking revelation was unearthed by the State Audit Office’s ongoing investigation into the Left’s “rolling dollars” saga.

We already knew that Márki-Zay Péter's association, the "Mindenki Magyarországa Mozgalom" (Everyone's Hungary Movement), spent nearly HUF 1.7 billion from foreign sources in secret during their election campaign.

What’s new is that the recent findings of ÁSZ, covered by Hungarian news outlet Magyar Nemzet, not only give further proof of the Hungarian left-wing six-party coalition’s covert foreign funding by U.S.-based NGOs but give 117 exact examples of how the money was spent.

So, let’s see what they burned all those dollars on.

My personal favorite is tied to the opposition’s grandiose “government changer” campaign rally that was held on March 15, the day of one of our most important national commemorations. The whole ordeal cost the left HUF 383,173,914 from which the parties (LMP, Jobbik, DK) accounted for a mere 10 percent of total spending, while the Márki-Zay movement financed 69 percent of the total and other "economic partners" 21 percent.

Consequently, this means that on the day of the national celebration of Hungarian independence, the Left most likely covered around 90 percent of its commemoration expenses from foreign sources. Ironic, isn’t it?

Another prominent example highlighted in the report is the story behind one of the campaign songs of the left wing, "A hatalom a népé" (The Power Belongs to the People). According to the State Audit Office's report, organizing extras for the music video and the performance of the song cost HUF 853,440, which was paid by Márki-Zay’s movement. Not only did the song come from the United States and Patty Smith, but the necessary funds for the performance also came from there.

Much larger sums were spent on logistics and technical campaign measures, from providing transportation to election events, result announcements, and campaign forums. HUF 324 million was spent on election rallies, and HUF 365 million were spent on election posters, leaflets, and other campaign materials. Nearly HUF 133 million was spent on publications, such as the propaganda fund "Nyomtass Te Is!" which disparagingly aimed to enlighten "rural people" about their “evil” government.

A whopping HUF 860 million was paid out for SMS campaigns, automated phone calls, social media advertising, database building, and management. These were activities carried out for them by a group of companies called DatAdat, run by people in the Gyurcsány-Bajnai clique contracted by the Márki-Zay family.

All in all, the State Audit Office’s interim report concluded that the Democratic Coalition (DK), Jobbik, Momentum, MSZP, LMP, and Párbeszéd "disregarded the principle of good faith and lawful exercise of rights and circumvented legal requirements regarding the financing of their joint campaign, the limitation of campaign expenses, and the campaign settlement." The auditing body also stated that since the six parties and the Mindenki Magyarországa Mozgalom (MMM) held joint events and also used common posters, logos, and unified election slogans, the activities and expenses of MMM were suitable for influencing the election campaign and elections.

Therefore, the State Audit Office concluded that "the parties participating in the six-party coalition exceeded the legal restriction on campaign expenses and spent HUF 1,683.30 million more than the permitted amount on the election campaign,” emphasizing that this is only an interim report, and further investigations will be conducted. Therefore, the mentioned amount may even increase as according to the National Information Center, the total amount of foreign campaign funds received by the left wing exceeds HUF 4 billion.

As more information surfaces about this unprecedented scandal, more and more questions arise as we go deeper into the “rabbit hole.” What is clear is that the Hungarian Left, in their attempt to win, has sold itself to the highest bidder seeking to influence the outcome of our national elections. Therefore, I can only quote Prime Minister Orbán here, who said that "he who pays the bill names the tune," and I sincerely hope that Hungarian authorities will shed light on those who aimed to undermine us from the shadows.