Verdonk launches TON amid funding row

Independent MP Rita Verdonk will launch her new political movement in a glittering ceremony on Thursday night, amid growing criticism of the way her ambition to become prime minister is being funded.

Verdonk’s party Trots op Nederland will be presented to some 1,800 guests at Amsterdam’s cruise terminal building. Guests were originally being asked to pay upwards of €75 for a ticket to the event.
However last week it emerged that a single donor had bought up all the tickets and gave them back to Verdonk as a gift.
The identity of the donor is being kept secret. ‘The person does not want to be identified,’ said Verdonk’s spokesman Kay van der Linde in the Volkskrant on Thursday.
Suggestions that millionaire businesswoman Nina Brink had bought the tickets were dismissed with a no-comment by Van der Linde, who is also Brink’s official spokesman.
‘There are people who want to make anonymous donations and the rules make that possible,’ said party manager Ed Sinke. He added that there is no point in revealing who the donors are because they cannot exert any political influence on the party.
Meanwhile, the opposition GroenLinks party has urged the government to bring in new rules to make all political funding over €1,000 public.
Political parties are already required by law to make giftsabove €4,500 public but Verdonk does not have an official party and so falls outside the rules.
Geert Wilders’ PVV party, which fund raises through a foundation, is also exempt.

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