Prague - Interior Minister Ivan Langer has sent a vulgar SMS message to Aktuálně.cz reporter Martina Macková after reading her article published on 10 December.
In it, Macková describes how Langer managed to negotiate CZK 18 million of pork barrel money for a museum run by his assistant in his constituency, Olomouc.
On reading the article, the minister was seen tapping his forehead. Later he sent the journalist the following text message:
"Is it stupidity, grumpiness, or malice? There is only foul odour in your wake, whereas we leave behind a great legacy! I pity you. P.S. It will be stupidity, or you wouldn't have written about the golf course, which is a lie."
Langer's last sentence about a golf course refers to a similar case four years ago, also mentioned in Macková's article. Langer then clinched special funding for a sports facility in Véska near Olomouc, run by a company where Langer used to be a board member.
"Things like that would be unthinkable abroad, especially in England," says Senator Jaromír Štětina, who never comes to the parliament without a bow tie. "A minister cannot afford that. Especially to a lady."
Slicing of the bear
What is mostly known as pork barrel politics in the English-speaking world, gets a rather curious name in the Czech Republic: slicing of the bear ("porcování medvěda").
The annual ritual, in which members of the parliament slip various allotment requirements for local projects (in their own constituencies) into the budget draft proposal has long been ridiculed by the media and even the politicians themselves. Yet, the temptation to score cheap political points seems to be too strong to resist.
Naturally, Ivan Langer is not the only Czech politician who is using the pork barrel support.
The notorious story of MP Ladislav Šustr's "patronage" is medialized every year. Even this year he, too, sent dozens of million to a sports club Orel (Eagle).
Head of the lower house Miloslav Vlček (ČSSD) is another example how Czech MPs handle public money. He received CZK 35 million to fooballers in the native region of Prostějov to build nice playground and cabins. Vlček failed to receive the money in the "slicing of the bear" scheme , so he convinced the Ministry of Finances. How much Czech taxpayers will benefit from the playground, he forgot to say.
Read more: Museum gets CZK 18m from pork barrel