When it comes to donations or support, parties or their sympathizers get creative. In contrast, the SPD in the Bundestag wants to proceed now and legally prevent questionable models for party financing. "It concerns cases, in which a party in the election campaign is supported for example by placards, newspapers or websites of third, without that in the account reports appear," said group vice Eva Högl the news agency AFP. Here there is "urgent need for action".
As an example of problematic practices Högl called the "mass distribution of newspaper-like publications supporting the AfD in the 2017 election campaign". The same thing was recently in the Thuringian state election campaign. "There is a gap in party law here, and such support measures should have the same thresholds and the same disclosure requirements as donations to the parties," Högl said.
For example, parties must immediately report donations of more than € 50,000 to the Bundestag administration. It is forbidden to accept donations from countries outside the EU, as well as from political groups and foundations. However, publications such as the free newspaper "Die Wahlhelfer" in the Thuringia election campaign are not covered by the rules. The publication did not come from the AfD, but represented various AFD positions.
In order to reach a new regulation, she is with all other factions except the AfD in the conversation, said Högl. "I talk to the coalition partner, but I also try to reach an agreement with the other factions, the more we can find common ground, the better."
The topic concerns all parties, said the SPD politician. "It would therefore not be good to do that only in the coalition logic." FDP, Left and Greens see the need for action as well. "It gets complicated in detail: what do I expect a party, how high should the sums be, who should control it, how will it be published."
"I do not want 'Lex Anti-AfD'"
All five factions agreed that "we should tackle this still in this legislative period," Högl said. She was "optimistic" that this would succeed. "Ideally, the new rules should already apply to the next federal election campaign." However, it still "a lot of work" is required. "At the beginning of 2020, we have to concentrate on making sure there is something left," demanded the SPD politician.
Högl emphasized at the same time that she did not want to give the impression that the project was directed against the right-wing populist AfD. "I do not want to do 'Lex Anti-AfD', you have to make it very clear that it affects everyone."
Ultimately, it is about equal opportunities. "Competition among parties should not be distorted by extensive publicity campaigns by individuals or companies seeking to influence the campaign in their favor."