The electoral counselor Ciro Murayama said the money was delivered by the federal government to the state of Chihuahua's treasury department, as supposed, only to be monthly redirected to the party, which at that time was also ruling the state.
“The INE is imposing a 36.5 million Mexican pesos [about US$1,932,479] fine on the PRI for the unlawful withholding of a fraction of the salary of state workers by Chihuahua's treasury department, to later transfer them to the party on a monthly basis,” the INE declared in a public statement.
The electoral authorities explained the party was diverting funds from their state government, at that time headed by Cesar Duarte Jaquez, using a financing model that took small quantities from state workers during 2015.
Under this model, the authorities determined Duarte Jaquez, now a fugitive, diverted about 14.5 million Mexican pesos (US$767,195), originally intended for public servants, to the party. According to the law, the party must now pay 250 percent of that same amount as a fine.
Duarte Jaquez stands accused of forming a "corruption network" which helped him steal more than a billion Mexican pesos (about US$53million), according to prosecutors.
As soon as the PRI, Duarte Jaquez's party, lost the state elections on 2016, he fled the country and was later seen in El Paso, Texas. He is now facing 11 charges with three outstanding warrants for his arrest, but the extradition request had been on hold since last year.
Chihuahua's new Governor Javier Corral has also condemned the federal government for protecting Duarte Jaquez over his role in several corruption cases involving the ruling party.
Since Corral took office, several members of Duarte Jaquez's administration have been jailed or face criminal charges, including two officers and the capital's mayor.
In Enrique Peña Nieto's government, six state ex-governors from his PRI party and two from PAN have been arrested for crimes including embezzlement, money laundering, abuse of authority, illegal enrichment and involvement with organized crime.
These and several other corruption cases, besides a record number in murders and kidnappings in the country, led the long-time ruling PRI to a shameful defeat for the July 1 elections, in which the center-left candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the National Renewal Movement, gained a landslide victory.