Europe’s Politicians Don’t Pay Their Taxes, Either

The European Union’s internal audit office investigated cheating on expenses by members of the European Parliament and found it is widespread. The internal audit office wrote a 92-page report to that effect, but kept it secret. Now the report has been leaked and the Telegraph has the details:

Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Having acquired the report, we felt it was right to publish it so taxpayers across the EU could see the widespread evidence of corruption, dodgy dealing and poor financial controls in the European Parliament. …

Over five years, each MEP can claim this includes a subsistence allowance of 117,000 Euros, staff allowance of 489,840 Euros, office expenses of 243,120 Euros, travel expenses of 60,000 Euros and an accrued pension of £350,000.

This does not include the MEP salary of £63,291, which is set to increase to £73,584 after the European Parliament elections in June 2009.

There was also widespread failure to comply with tax, company and social security laws. Nearly 80 per cent of transactions that should have been subject to VAT displayed no evidence of either VAT payment or exemption.

In his report, Mr Galvin found that overpayments of parliamentary allowances were common.

I’ve always thought that corruption among American politicians is much less common than is popularly believed. It does seem, though, that the world’s political class, including ours, is becoming increasingly contemptuous of the rule of law.

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