Corruption made easy

The investigative journalists at El Faro have published a report on a parallel secret set of financial records used by ARENA presidential administrations of Calderon Sol, Flores and Tony Saca.    The records reflect money diverted from the government to many purposes:
Between 1994 and 2006, the Presidency of the Republic maintained a register parallel to the official one in order to hide the true use of hundreds of millions of dollars. Two accounting books to which El Faro had access detailed how the last three governments of ARENA utilized 322 million dollars, and more than half of this amount corresponds to checks paid to the order of ex-presidents Armando Calderón Sol, Francisco Flores and Antonio Saca.
The El Faro reporting goes on to describe how the various presidents over the course of twelve years hid how they used "discretionary" funds of the presidency.  In additions to payments to the presidents themselves, millions were paid out in bonuses to government officials who did not pay taxes on the income.   Other funds went to acquire vehicles, or to private foundations, or for purposes described as communications or publicity.

Ex-president Flores was previously charged with corruption and died before he could be brought to trial.    Ex-president Saca is currently being held in a prison in El Salvador awaiting trial on corruption charges in which these accounting records will certainly play a part.  To my knowledge, there have been no charges levied to date against Calderon Sol.

But the flow of money from the president's checkbook did not stop after the FMLN came into power with the election of Mauricio Funes in 2009.  Bonuses, usually paid in cash, were paid out of the "discretionary" funds of the Funes presidency  as well.

In response to the El Faro reporting, maverick ARENA politician, Johnny Wright Sol, tweeted "Tenemos la oportunidad de reconocer los errores del pasado y asegurarnos de no repetirlos. / We have the opportunity to recognize the errors of the past and make sure not to repeat them."