The representative body of the Progressive Party bought clothing for ISK 1.29 million (USD 19,000, EUR 13,000) for its candidates before the Reykjavík City Council elections in 2006, as reported in the evening news program on national broadcast RÚV last night.
RÚV published receipts from clothing stores Herragardurinn and Hugo Boss, dated between March 28 and May 23, 2006, most of them labeled with the initials of Björn Ingi Hrafnsson. The Progressive Party was given a 25 percent discount and thus paid ISK 967,730 (USD 14,352, EUR 9,924) for the suits, shirts, ties, sweaters, shoes, T-shirts, jackets and more, Morgunbladid reports.
“They have been thinking about coordination in clothing and what suits each person best,” said Gudni Ágústsson, leader of the Progressive Party. “It is just part of politics,” Ágústsson added, explaining that the party’s funds covered the cost.
“We don’t cover the cost of our candidates’ personal expenses; to my knowledge that has never happened,” said manager of the Independence Party Andri Óttarsson. Manager of the Left-Greens Drífa Snaedal said her party does not fund clothing purchases and neither does the Liberal Party, according to its manager Magnús Reynir Gudmundsson.
Manager of the Social Democrats Skúli Helgason said there are no special regulations on the purchase of clothing for party members, but that if the cost of clothing a party member had to cover was considered unusually high, the party had supported him or her.
Hrafnsson said there was nothing unnatural about his clothing bill before the Reykjavík City Council election in 2006. The purchase of clothing had been covered partially with financial aid from sponsors and it had been undertaken according to the Progressive Party’s regulations and with acceptance from the election board.
Fréttabladid claims that the clothing fund had not been reported to taxation authorities.
The clothing issue surfaced after former Progressive Party MP Gudjón Ólafur Jónsson claimed in a letter that the party had covered an excessively high clothing bill for its candidates.
Click here to read more about the debate within the Progressive Party.