Libertarian economist and presidential hopeful Javier Milei described recent allegations that his party, La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances), sells candidacies for US$50,000 as a “smear campaign.”
“There has never been a smear campaign of this magnitude in history,” Milei said in an interview with Radio Continental. “Instead of discussing my proposals, I am being dirtied with nonsensical questions.”
Yesterday, businessman and politician Juan Carlos Blumberg accused the party’s political organizers — Carlos Kikuchi, Sebastián Pareja, and Javier’s sister, Karina Milei — of selling positions in the ballots.
“There are people who paid US$50,000 for a councilor position. The most serious part is that they have made a business of politics,” Blumberg said in an interview with La Red radio station.
A spokesperson for La Libertad Avanza who spoke to the Herald rejected the allegations.
“Blumberg also said he was an engineer,” he said, referring to the controversy that arose 16 years ago after it came to light that Blumberg had lied about his alleged degree. “Of course, it’s a lie.”
Milei contends that Blumberg’s allegations are the product of spite since he was rejected as a candidate for Buenos Aires governor. The coalition leader said he is planning to file a lawsuit.
“Since he is out of the coalition, he dedicates himself to smearing.”
However, this is not the first time such allegations have circulated. Last year, liberal political leader and former member of La Libertad Avanza Carlos Maslatón said that Milei leads a “political franchise.”
“You are selling candidacies and raking it in for yourself. Very naive, you thought you were impune and that this wouldn’t be made known,” he said in a tweet yesterday.
Last month, Carlos Eguía, former La Libertad Avanza candidate for governor of Neuquén province said that Milei’s political organizers asked him for positions in the provincial legislature.
“I am disappointed because I thought Milei could change Argentina,” Eguía said in an interview with Perfil Radio.
Today, Milei said that this party does not sell candidacies to the highest bidder but all candidates for La Libertad Avanza have to “self-finance” their campaigns.
“You want to cover a position? Okay, you have to finance your own campaign,” Milei said. “I don’t take one dime out of that.”
Milei also accused other Argentine politicians of funneling taxpayer’s money toward their political campaigns. He scornfully refers to career politicians as “the caste.”
“In Argentina, politics are financed with taxpayers’ money,” he said.
A spokesperson for La Libertad Avanza said that the coalition’s campaign is the “most frugal” of the country, but could not confirm if the “self-financing fee” is US$50,000 per candidate.