The National Electoral Institute (INE) this Thursday imposed harsh sanctions on two of the winners of the June 6 elections: a rising politician, the governor-elect of Nuevo León, Samuel García, and a formation that quadrupled its presence in the Chamber of Deputies, the Green Party.
The electoral referee has fined Movimiento Ciudadano 55.4 million pesos and García with 448,000 pesos, for the publications on social networks of his wife, the influencerMariana Rodríguez. The leader has taken another blow: a sanction of 28 million pesos for illegal contributions to his campaign by three members of his family.
In a third decision, the referee has sanctioned the Green Party with 40.9 million pesos and the loss of promotional items on radio and television for having paid a hundred celebrities to launch messages of support during the electoral ban.
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The institution has decided that the publications of Mariana Rodríguez , a key piece of García’s victorious campaign, go beyond a show of freedom of expression or solidarity with her husband. Most of the directors have considered Rodríguez’s condition as a natural person with commercial activities proven, which prevents him from contributing in kind to political campaigns.
The voted project indicates that Rodríguez is registered with the Tax Administration Service (SAT) for his business activities in advertising services and that his name is registered as a trademark before the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI).
Counselor Jaime Rivera has stated that “Mariana Rodríguez’s personal support for her husband is not sanctioned,” but that she will use “her work environment to deploy an advertising and electoral propaganda strategy.”
In the project, the INE claims to have detected 45 photographs and 1,300 stories posted with propaganda features with an estimated value of 27.8 million pesos that the campaign did not charge or report as an expense. Three of the eight councilors have voted against the sanction, arguing that the messages are protected by freedom of expression and that Rodríguez’s status as a spouse must be taken into account.
In parallel to the long debate, Mariana Rodríguez has been commenting on her Instagram account on the interventions of some directors and has pointed out that on June 6, 2020, she discharged herself as a natural person with business activity.
“I am completely attached to the law. I ask that you please rectify your information ”, he has asked the directors. Before the vote, Samuel García crossed out the proposed fine as “ridiculous” and even accused the INE of exercising political gender violence against his wife.
In addition, the elected governor has been fined 28 million pesos for receiving illegal contributions to his campaign from his mother and two brothers. The 14 million contributed come from various companies and were sent to the Citizen Movement to later go to the party’s state committee in Nuevo León and to García’s campaign, according to the investigation in which the Financial Intelligence Unit and the SAT collaborated.
The INE has dealt with another case of influencers during the session of more than eight hours. The Green Party has been accused of having paid 104 celebrities for having called to vote on June 5 and 6, days when political formations could not carry out propaganda activities due to the electoral ban.
Furthermore, he did not report these payments as campaign expenses. The approved project imposes a fine, 40.9 million pesos, which doubles the amount that the institute estimates that Verde spent on the strategy, around one million dollars, 20 million pesos.
The sanction, however, does not stop there. The INE has also decided to interrupt the party’s access to radio and television times assigned by the agency for political propaganda for a year, the first time that a punishment of this caliber has been imposed.
To justify the harshness, the proposal recalls the “stubborn and recidivist behavior” of the Green, which was sanctioned with seven million pesos for resorting to 42 influencers in the intermediate elections of 2015. “The sanction has a quantitative and qualitative aspect. Economic sanctions may not be inhibitory.
Despite being fined in 2015, he is now spending money in an opaque way again ”, said the counselor Ciro Murayama. The members of the body have refused to initiate a procedure to unregister the party.
The Green Party said at first that they were spontaneous messages. This Wednesday, Senator Raúl Bolaños, a member of the party’s leadership, said he was unaware of the matter, although he acknowledged that “we will have to abide by what the authorities say.”
Faced with the defense of training, the counselor Adriana Favela has said that the messages of the influencers“They were not carried out in the exercise of freedom of expression. A communication strategy was accredited to influence the direction of the voters, the existence of a script for the messages that contains an introduction and a closing ”, he declared.
“They were hired through companies. Three acknowledged that they were paid ”. The Office of the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes has also opened an investigation into this matter which is still ongoing.