Millions of euro are being aimed at the leading candidates, the likely losers and even candidates running from outside the Bundestag, according to a elections finance document presented in German Parliament that offers a truer picture of the German elections, better than any poll.
This is the business of federal elections. That is: the Bundesrepublik of the lobby. The disclosure is an official and symptomatic report, and, most importantly, it’s a record in the public domain.
Angela Merkel has contributed nearly €2 million to the CDU in 2017, while the ultra-liberal Christian Lindner deposited a million and a half in the FDP coffers, passing through donations to SPD by aspirant Martin Schulz who hasn’t refused the dumped donations by giants like Daimler.
The money doesn’t stink. It funds the election campaign and other things, too. It is added to the €133 million that Germany distributes to the parties, according to the volume of votes conquered.
It is a true litmus test that helps to understand how social democracy, German ethics and party independence work, behind and beyond propaganda. The tide of money sets the (absolute) conditions of the variable geometry of politics declined in Berlin. The co-management of the electoral capital.
By law in Germany, it is compulsory to register with the Bundestag every “significant donation” of individuals to political parties. This means that any payment over €50,000 must be reported, specifying the date, the sender and the recipient. An authentic “receipt” is prepared by the Parteiengesetz, the regulator overseeing the activities of the German parties.
The “investment” of large companies on the coalition spikes (quite likely) among the Christian Democrats and Liberals who have not been present in the Bundestag since 2013.
From January to August, €1.9 million were received in the CDU account, and another €1.5 million were transferred to the FDP. Among the donors are the industrial federation of North Rhine-Westphalia Metall-NRW (€110,000 to the CDU, €90,000 to the Liberals), the Sixt car rental company (€55,000 to the FDP) and the millionaire Stefan Quandt, member of the BMW board of directors, who this year disbursed two checks of €50,001 each to both factions. On the same wave, and with the same balance, the automaker Daimler (which controls Mercedes) has deposited €100,000 to Merkel’s party and the same amount to Schulz’s Social Democrats.
Of course, it is impossible to establish a biunivocal correspondence with the recent decision by the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (the Federal Transport Authority) to omit the most “irksome” passages in its final report on the Dieselgate, the scandal on made up emissions, but the link is difficult to ignore.
Although “the majority of Germans do not believe big business influences policy makers,” the Lobby Control Observatory explains that “78 percent welcome the creation of a lobbyist registry, to force them to make their activities a matter of public record.”
Furthermore, among the receipts filed with the Bundestag, there is a record for €300,000 paid in June to the CDU by Hans Joachim Langmann, chairman of the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (the German Corporation Confederation) in addition to the €500,000 donated to Christian Democrats a month prior by entrepreneur Ralph Dommermuth, managing director of United Internet, a domain, hosting and web marketing company based in Montabaur (Rhineland-Palatinate), whose business reaches even the U.S. and Canada. Together with Deutsche Telekom, it is the largest provider of telecommunications services in Europe, and its donation stands out as the largest single contribution to a German party.
In contrast with the CDU, the Bavarian “sister” CSU in 2017 did not receive any contributions beyond the legal threshold, and neither did Linke, the least attractive political subject for large businesses, nor the AfD populists. For their part, the Greens received only one donation of €100,000 by the Swiss billionaire Frank Hansen, 32, son of an entrepreneur in the packaging sector.
In Germany’s “safe,” the only contribution by a foreign state stands out. It amounts to €120,563.53 sent on June 6 by the Copenhagen culture ministry to the Danish minority party in Schleswig-Holstein (SSW). While the latest offer comes from the Berlin real estate company Klaus Groth, which on Sept. 13 paid €100,000 to the CDU. “I do my part to ensure that Angela Merkel remains Chancellor,” was the stated cause.
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