El Salvadoran Court Tells Assembly to Reveal Spending

31 July 2014

The Constitutional Court of the Supreme Court of Justice in El Salvador has ordered the release of information about spending by legislators.

The court unanimously instructed the Board of Directors from the National Assembly to release information about gifts, alcoholic beverages and works of art purchased in 2012 and the source of funds for the purchases. The invoices for the purchases also must be disclosed

It gave the Assembly five days to release the information. (See decision and the court’s announcement, both in Spanish.) (See news article in Spanish in elsalvador.com.)

The plaintiff was FUNDE (“Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo” or National Foundation for Development), a nongovernmental organization. The NGO had presented the request through ALAC (Legal Anticorruption Assesment Center, which is part of FUNDE) and as a response got a denial arguing that the information was confidential. (See FUNDE statement in Spanish.)

The Constitutional Court declared in its decision that the information should not be confidential, including the names of congressmen. It also said that when there is confidential information in a document, the Access to Information Act provides with the possibility to draft another document with a public version that does not release confidential information. 

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