SIPO: Amnesty Ireland Claim To Take Soros' OSF Money For Repealing the 8th - And, MUST Return It!
QUALIFIED VICTORY UPDATE (Dec. 11, 2017) -
Only two weeks after CitizenGO launched a campaign, specifically asking the Standards in Public Office commission (SIPO) to investigate Amnesty Ireland's acceptance of a large, foreign donation (€137,000) from George Soros' Open Society Foundations (and, also, tell them to return it!), SIPO have, in fact, instructed Amnesty Ireland to return the donation, as it is in breach of the law.
And, Amnesty Ireland's Chief Executive, Colm O'Gorman, pointed to CitizenGO (and, this petition) as one of the reasons SIPO was now enforcing their rules on the receipt of foreign donations by bodies which engage in political campaigning in Ireland.
Read the following for more information:
Amnesty (Int'l) Ireland have been receiving foreign money, in the form of a grant, to fund their 'It's time. Repeal the 8th'campaign. And, according to the Standards in Public Office Commission's (SIPO) 'Explanatory Note' on Third Parties receiving donations, this (i.e., receiving funds, from foreign sources, to influence Irish government/legal policy) appears to be against the law.
But, how do we know Amnesty Ireland have been in receipt of foreign funding? Astonishingly, because they have actually put it up on their own website. Here's a screengrab from Thursday, 9/11/2017:
As you can read, in the section detailing the types of income they receive, Amnesty Ireland say: "We also receive income from philanthropic organisations to work on specific issues. Funding for these projects can only be spent in these areas. For example, our 'It's time. Repeal the 8th.' campaign is in part funded by a grant from the Open Society Foundation."
Perhaps, it was an error in judgement to include the example of OSF funding (and, or, take it from the outset), but there it is.
OSF headquarters are in New York City, and, from the following screengrab, it does not appear that they operate an office in Ireland:
And, SIPO guidelines, established in their document, 'Explanatory Note for Third Parties', expressly prohibit donations, for "political purposes", being received from "a body corporate or unincorporated body of persons which does not keep an office in the island of Ireland from which one or more of its principal activities is directed." (see p. 6)
But, how does SIPO define "political purposes"? In the same 'Explanatory Note' (p. 11), SIPO define "political purposes" as, among other things, to: "promote or oppose, directly or indirectly, the interests of a third party in connection with the conduct or management of any campaign conducted with a view to promoting or procuring a particular outcome in relation to a policy or policies or functions of the Government or any public authority".
According to their website, Amnesty Ireland's 'It's time. Repeal the 8th.' campaign calls for the, "total repeal of the 8th Amendment and removal of the issue entirely from the Constitution", and for, "full decriminalisation of abortion."
It is pretty hard to make a believable, rational argument that a campaign called, 'It's time. Repeal the 8th.' is anything but political in nature!
So, the campaign - for which they claim to have received foreign funding - seems to meet the "political purposes" test.
Then, according to the 'Explanatory Note', any organisation in receipt of a donation exceeding the value of €100 must register with SIPO as a Third Party.
And, we are assuming that, because their 'It's time. Repeal the 8th.' campaign is, "in part funded by a grant from the Open Society Foundation", the donation was in excess of €100.
Astonishingly, however, Amnesty Ireland must have either registered and then "deregistered", or declared that they were not required to register, as of 6/1/2016. Here is a screengrab (22/10/2017) of SIPO's own webpage, detailing organisations who declared that they were not required to register. Note Amnesty Ireland is on this list - which (i.e., this list), incidentally, has now been taken off SIPO's website:
Taken together, but especially with respect to the issue of receiving funding from a foreign source, it would, thus, seem that Amnesty Ireland is, at minimum, in a very irregular position in respect of SIPO regulations, and, at worst, in violation of the law.
Remember that these rules on donations were put in place to safeguard the Irish Constitution and Irish law from being bought and paid for, by outside forces. But, these rules (and, the rule of law) will only be respected if they are enforced.
Therefore, this petition - directed to SIPO and Cc'ed to the entire Board of Amnesty Ireland - asks the agency to investigate these seeming irregularities with Amnesty Ireland and their OSF funding. And, further, this petition demands that if it is found that Amnesty illegally received donations from foreign sources, they must be compelled to return the funding.
Thank you for signing this important petition.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Here is the Amnesty Ireland webpage where the organisation admits to using OSF funding for "political purposes." - https://www.amnesty.ie/who-we-are/how-were-run/how-are-we-funded/
Amnesty Ireland details their 'It's time...' campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment - https://www.amnesty.ie/itstime/
SIPO's 'Explanatory Note for Third Parties' - http://www.sipo.ie/en/Reports/Register-of-Third-Parties/Explanatory-Note-for-Third-Parties1.pdf
Sign this petition now!
According to SIPO Rules Amnesty Ireland Must Return Soros' OSF Money To Repeal the 8th