Yet another minister admits lying to parliament

Annette Vilhelmsen admits to giving preferential treatment – and one million kroner – to voting organisation

UPDATE 16:30: Far-left government support party, Endhedslisten, who yesterday pulled its support from Morten Bødskov (S) the justice minister, said that it will continue to support Vilhelmsen as social minister, but recommended that she be given an official parliamentary reprimand.

Ventstre spokesperson Jakob Engel-Schmidt agreed that Vilhelmsen should be reprimanded.

A reprimand in Danish is called a næse, or ‘nose’.

Engel-Schmidt said that Vilhelmsen should be given “a big nose with warts on it”.

ORIGINAL STORY : Annette Vilhelmsen (SF), the social minister, now admits that she lied to parliament when she said in November that there had been a “completely level playing field” for funds being doled out to organisations looking for public grants.

Vilhemsen acknowledged this morning, hours before she was to appear before parliament to discuss the case, that she gave Huset Zorning and its 'Stemmer på Kanten' (voices on the edge) campaign to encourage voter participation “special treatment” when she promised them one million kroner even before the application process for state grants had begun.

"Stemmer på Kanten has received significantly more guidance than the other applicants, so I think it is fair to say that they received special treatment,” Vilhelmsen wrote in response to questions from parliament

READ MORE: Social minister asked to explain million kroner aid mess

The case began when Vilhelmsen was caught on camera in August promising one million kroner to Lisbeth Zornig’s project.

“There is one million for you,” Vilhelmsen told Zornig on live TV on August 29, 18 days before the application deadline. At that time, Zornig had not even applied for the grant.

Helped through the process
Correspondence uncovered by Politiken newspaper revealed that Huset Zornig knew about the grant before it was even created, and before other organisations had an opportunity to apply for it.

The correspondence also revealed that Huset Zornig co-ordinated directly with the Social Ministry, even conspiring to publish their press releases at different times in order to avoid things looking "too arranged". The disclosure led to suspicions that the grant was created specifically for 'Stemmer på Kanten'.

The head of Huset Zornig, Lisbeth Zornig, told Politiken that her group was not trying to cheat the system and Vilhelmsen originally brushed the affair off, calling it a “mistake”.

She quickly issued another million kroner grant of taxpayer money that 16 other applicants could spilt between them, while 19 other projects applied for but did not receive any state funding.

Vilhelmsen will be asked to explain herself further when she faces the Social Affairs Committee beginning at 12pm.