Parteiengesetz

“Political parties law,” which defines some German election rules.

An Armistice Day article in Spiegel.de on the continuance of the neonazi-legacy N.P.D. party’s temporary loss of government political party financing due to “chaotic bookkeeping” mentioned some interesting aspects of German public financing of political parties and the parties’ reporting obligations. Under the Parteiengesetz, the German government gives all parties that receive at least 0.5% of the vote in Bundestag or European Union elections, and/or 1% in state elections, 85 eurocents for each vote received in E.U., Bundestag and German state parliamentary elections. That is reduced to 70 eurocents per vote >4 million votes. “Also, for each euro a party receives as a membership fee or donation, up to 3300 euros, the government pays another 38 eurocents.”

This money is paid to the parties in quarterly installments.

Spiegel.de said the N.P.D.’s financial trials began in 2007 when a Thuringian N.P.D. official named Golkowski was caught using fake donation receipts in order to get more matching funds from the government. This may have been going on since the 1990’s. The error was compounded by the so-called “chaotic bookkeeping” in that year’s year-end reporting that should have been glass-clear in order to avoid more trouble but in which party treasurer Köster apparently misplaced almost 900,000 euros by using the wrong tables at one point. As per the Parteiengesetz, the N.P.D. had to return the inappropriately obtained donation-matching funds (almost 900,000 euros) and pay a fine double that amount. Accordingly, the Bundestag announced the N.P.D. would be fined 2.5 million euros for the malfeasance, but in December 2012 the supreme constitution court in Karlsruhe, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, reduced the fine to 1.27 million euros because, they said, the Bundestag had overlooked the fact that the radical right-wing party had provided “coherent/conclusive explanations” [“schlüssig erläutert“] of some of the points they were accused of. In May 2013, in response to the N.P.D.’s accelerated appeal to the supreme constitutional court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht said the government would have to pay the N.P.D.’s 15 May 2013 and 15 Aug 2013 quarterly payments “in advance” until a final court decision in the main hearing on the fine’s legality; this financed the party until at least the 22 Sep 2013 Bundestag election.

On 11 Nov 2013, the Bundesverfassungsgericht announced that the neonazi party’s fine would not be cancelled more yet and their 15 Nov 2013 payment can now be stopped. Although the N.P.D. had filed an accelerated appeal to the nation’s highest court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht said the party had not exhausted its relevant appeals in Berlin. The N.P.D. said they need this money now more than ever, with the E.U. Parliament election coming up.

Spiegel.de’s chart shows government contributions to the N.P.D. from 2003 to 2011. Red bar numbers represent government contributions in millions of euros. Beige bar numbers are government funding’s percentage of total N.P.D. income that year.

(Pot EYE en gezz ETZ.)

Monitorische Demokratie vs. monetäre Demokratie

Monitory democracy vs. monetary democracy.

In an online discussion, political theorist John Keane said he considered our form of government to have gone through three stages: the ancient world’s assembly democracy, in which groups of landowning men would vote on some topics; late-18th-century representative electoral democracy; and, now, added to that, an emerging “monitory democracy” in which many varied groups are monitoring governments’ performance, adherence to democratic principles, protection of humans, protection of human rights, etc.

Monetary democracy: perhaps codified by the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which appeared to define one dollar as one vote.

(Mon ih TOR ish eh   dame oh cra TEE   vair seuss   mon eh TARE eh   dame oh cra TEE.)

Den Anschein der Käuflichkeit erweckte

“Awoke the appearance of purchasability.”

What Germany’s penultimate Bundespräsident, Christian Wulff (C.D.U.), is on trial for in Hanover, to determine whether he did this by accepting ~700 euros in gifts from someone in the film industry during a weekend at the big Munich Oktoberfest in 2008 while Mr. Wulff was still governor of Lower Saxony. It was because of corruption charges from his days as governor that Mr. Wulff was forced to resign from office as president of Germany.

Germany’s president is supposed to be apolitical, party-neutral. They give speeches, judging and encouraging people in Germany and abroad. They attend funerals. If Germany were the U.S.A. the Bundespräsident might also take over some of the permanent fundraising work that can keep a leader from governing, but perhaps the proceeds would have to go to all (both) parties to preserve neutrality.

Great Bundespräsidents include Richard von Weiszacker and apparently Joachim Gauck.

There is only one Bundespräsident jokes are still told about: Heinrich Lübke. Famous Lübke quotes include, on a trip to Africa, “Ladies and gentlemen, and dear Negroes, …”

(Dane   ON shine   dare   COY flichh kite   ehh VECK teh.)

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