AfD has to pay a fine of more than 500,000 euros (neue-deutschland.de)

AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel

Photo: dpa / Martin Schutt

Berlin. The AfD will again pay a fine of more than half a million euros for unlawfully received donations. Corresponding notices were sent to the party on Thursday, the Bundestag administration announced on request.

It is mainly about the case of today’s parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel. From July to September 2017, according to the Bundestag, the business account of their former AfD district association Bodensee received donations via several individual transfers totaling around 132,000 euros from Swiss accounts. The Bundestag announced that there was a violation of the prohibition enshrined in the Political Parties Act to accept donations that amount to more than 500 euros in individual cases and whose donors cannot be identified. As is customary in such cases, the AfD should pay a fine of three times the rate of this illegally obtained donation – around 396,000 euros.

The AfD had submitted a list of donors. In June 2019, however, she announced, according to the Bundestag administration, “that eight alleged donors had now declared to the Konstanz public prosecutor that they had not donated.” The AfD therefore further explained to the Bundestag administration that it therefore “does not have any reliable knowledge of who the real donor is”.

The letter from the Bundestag to the AfD states that the actual donor is named in account documents that were secured by the Swiss judiciary as part of a request for legal assistance. The donor, a businessman, did not comment on the matter when asked by the Konstanz public prosecutor, which is investigating the matter.

According to the Bundestag administration, the second case is an event with the title “European Visions – Visions for Europe” in Düsseldorf in February 2016. The costs of the event were therefore more than 36,000 euros. The Bundestag administration also regards this as an illegally obtained donation. In this case, too, it was a violation of the ban on accepting donations whose donors could not be identified. Again, the triple rate was applied, which makes a fine of 108,000 euros.

“The arguments of the Bundestag administration in today’s decision on the ‘K Bodenseekreis’ procedure cannot be understood by the AfD Federal Association,” said a party spokesman. The federal executive will therefore discuss in its next conference call next Monday whether a lawsuit against this decision will be filed with the Berlin administrative court within the month. The AfD party chairman Tino Chrupalla said that the funds transferred at the time had been repaid and not used

In the legal dispute with the administration of the Bundestag about inadmissible party donations for its chairman Jörg Meuthen, the AfD gave in last June and paid a fine of almost 270,000 euros. After a defeat in the first instance, the federal executive decided to waive the previously announced appeal procedure.

For Meuthen, who was also criticized within the party because of the events, the settlement of the legal dispute meant relief. In the similar case of AfD MEP Guido Reil, which is about 130,000 euros, according to information from board members, it has now been decided to accept the fine. Agencies / nd

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AfD: penalty notices amounting to 500,000 euros in donation affair – politics

Your party donation affair could cost the AfD dearly: According to information from WDR, NDR and Süddeutscher Zeitung The party received two penalties from the Bundestag administration on Thursday, and the AfD is said to pay a total of more than 500,000 euros in fines – three times as much as it is supposed to have accepted in 2016 and 2017 in terms of illegal donations.

The fine for donations in favor of the 2017 election campaign by Alice Weidel, today’s group leader, is 396 016.56 euros. The Bundestag administration regards it as proven that the Bodenseekreis district association wrongly booked 132,000 euros from a Swiss company at the time. In the second case, the Bundestag administration decided after a long examination that the party would also have to pay three times the amount of the donation received as a penalty for a congress in Düsseldorf in 2016 paid for by the Swiss advertising agency Goal AG: 108,412.80 euros. The former state chairman of the AfD North Rhine-Westphalia, Marcus Pretzell, organized the congress together with the FPÖ. Pretzell is no longer a party member and initially did not want to comment on request. The Bundestag administration confirmed the penalties.

The Hamburg defense attorney Gerhard Strate announced on request that he considered the penalty notice regarding the Weidel donation as “unfair”. Although it was addressed to the AfD, it was primarily aimed at “anticipating and influencing the decision of the Constance public prosecutor’s office in the investigation against my client Alice Weidel”. The Bundestag administration also received insight into investigation documents that Weidel’s defense had not previously been available, criticized Strate.

The campaign donations came ostensibly from a Zurich pharmaceutical company and were received in 18 tranches on the account of Alice Weidel’s district association, dedicated to her campaign as the top candidate for the previous federal election. Donations from a non-EU country are prohibited. A year ago, the Bundestag administration had informed the AfD that they assumed the donations had been obtained illegally. Instead, the AfD claimed at the beginning of the year that it was not a donation to the party, but a personal donation to Weidel.

WDR, NDR and SZ made the case public two years ago. The money had been in a sub-account of the Bodenseekreis district association for about nine months and was then transferred back to the pharmaceutical company. The Bundestag administration, but also the federal and state levels of the AfD had not found out about it. The donation apparently did not come from a pharmaceutical company, but from the billionaire Henning Conle, who lives in Zurich and London. Subsequent lists of names with the allegedly real donors, which, according to the research, contained the names of straw people, had led to him. The AfD had finally submitted such lists to the Bundestag administration.

The Bundestag administration also assumes in its penalty notice that the sum comes from Conle, so it has checked the relevant account movements. The Swiss donor himself is said not to have made a statement to the Konstanz public prosecutor’s office.

AfD federal treasurer Carsten Hütter confirmed the receipt of two letters and stated that at least one case would be examined. Party leader Tino Chrupalla announced on request that it was “a politically transparent game” to discredit the strongest opposition party in the current debate about the Infection Protection Act. It is probably a one-off event that “a party is punished for funds that have been repaid in full and not used”.

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AfD argues about Joe Biden: criticism of Weidel and Gauland

The top of the group congratulated the new US president. But other AfD MPs prefer to spread Trump’s wild allegations.

The two AfD parliamentary group leaders, Alice Weidel Alexander Gauland, congratulated Biden on his election Photo: Christian Thiel / imago

BERLIN taz | There is another dispute in the AfD, but currently the lines of conflict run beyond the party’s internal camp boundaries. This time it is not about party matters, unlike so often in the past few months. Instead, it’s about the election of Joe Biden as the next US President. The two parliamentary group leaders, Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel, had congratulated Biden on the election and were confident that “possible irregularities in the counts will be resolved quickly through the rule of law,” according to a press release on Saturday evening.

Some members of the Bundestag parliamentary group have a completely different position on Biden’s election victory – and are now addressing their parliamentary group leaders directly. In the style of the elected president Trump, they are spreading rumors of alleged election fraud – allegations for which there is no evidence to date.

“Anyone who sends congratulations to the not yet activated #Biden for no reason either has no clue of the dimensions of the current political situation or they want to secure their donation-filled bowl in good time,” wrote AfD MP Martin Renner from NRW in the social networks.

“No congratulations for the globalist electoral fraudster Joe Biden,” countered Markus Frohnmaier, member of the Bundestag from Baden-Württemberg, and thus adopted Trump’s rhetoric almost one to one.

It is not just backbenchers who publicly contradict the parliamentary group leaders. Beatrix von Storch, who is vice-president of the parliamentary group and party, also speaks of “massive evidence of election fraud” and Member of the Board of Management Stephan Protschka, MP from Bavaria, tweeted: “As long as there is no final result of the election, Trump is President of the USA for me. Don’t believe any mainstream press! ”.

Party leader Jörg Meuthen, who otherwise likes to be bourgeois and repeatedly accuse Gauland and Weidel of defending himself to the “old parties”, is much more cautious than the two faction leaders: “There is still a lot to be clarified,” he says .

While the party has been characterized by sharp internal disputes throughout its existence, things have been more peaceful in the group for a while. There they tried to ignore the wing fighting and to work together. But that hasn’t worked for a while.

This is also due to Gauland and Weidel, whom MPs repeatedly accuse of weak leadership. However, it is also likely to be due to the AfD’s poor poll results for the Bundestag election in the coming year – many MPs have to fear for a good place on the list and a return to the federal parliament. One or the other like to make a name for themselves by making sharp statements on social networks.

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Today it’s against fascism, tomorrow against the virus


Journalists believe more and more that they have to save the world. Your thinking becomes more and more narrow. But if they give the guardian of morals, something important falls by the wayside. An exclusive preprint from Jan Fleischhauer’s new book “How dare you!”. .

SZ podcast “On the Point” – News from 01.10.2020 – Politics

There has been a lot going on in the AfD over the past few weeks: Starting with the dissolution of the right-wing extremist “wing”, the expulsion of Andreas Kalbitz from the party, the dissolution of the parliamentary groups in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein to the unsavory statements made by the former press spokesman for the Bundestag parliamentary group Christian Lüth .

Now party spokesman Jörg Meuthen has decided not to run for the Bundestag, thus avoiding a controversy with the rest of the party’s leadership team. Jens Schneider describes the relationship between Meuthen, Alexander Gauland, Alice Weidel and co-speaker Tino Chrupalla as bad. The SZ capital correspondent, however, warns against underestimating the AfD in next year’s general election.

Other topics: EU initiates legal action against Great Britain, Wirecard committee of inquiry, Wirt receives one million euros from insurance.

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“Sunday trend”: AfD falls to its lowest value since September 2017

Germany “Sunday trend”

AfD falls to its lowest level since September 2017

| Reading time: 2 minutes

AfD politicians Alice Weidel (left) and Alexander Gauland in the Bundestag - the party is currently suffering losses in polls

AfD politicians Alice Weidel (left) and Alexander Gauland in the Bundestag – the party is currently suffering losses in polls

Source: REUTERS

For the fourth time in a row, the AfD has deteriorated in the “Sunday trend” and is now at eight percent. There is a head-to-head race between the SPD and the Greens. The Union is losing, remains stable at a high level.

So bad as in these days the mood in the AfD may have been rare. The party has fallen in the “Sunday trend” of “Bild am Sonntag” to the lowest value since September 2017. In the poll conducted by the Kantar polling institute, the party lost a percentage point for the fourth time in a row compared to the previous week and is now at eight percent.

Observers see various reasons for this trend: The leadership of the AfD is at odds. The fear of a possible observation of the whole party by the protection of the constitution causes additional unrest.

But the Union also loses two percentage points according to the “Sunday trend”, but remains clearly the strongest at 38 percent. The Greens are in second place in the electoral favor with 16 percent, gaining a point and pulling past the SPD.

Another survey confirms the trend

The Social Democrats lose one point: 15 percent of the respondents stated that they would vote for the SPD if the Bundestag election took place next Sunday. The left wins a point and comes to eight percent, while the FDP loses one point and lands at seven percent.

The parties saw a Forsa survey for the RTL / n-tv trend barometer on Saturday at similar values. There, too, the AfD lost one percentage point and fell to eight percent – and thus its worst value since August 2017. This survey also saw the Union at 40 percent, the SPD, according to its analysis, was ahead of the Greens at 16 percent with 16 percent ( -1), the left at eight percent and the FDP at six.

From May 28 to June 3, 2020, Kantar surveyed a total of 1,428 people for “Bild am Sonntag”. The question was: “Which party would you choose if there were general elections next Sunday?”

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Power struggle in the AfD: Will Meuthen prevail?

SAndreas Kalbitz has not been a member of the AfD for two weeks. The decision to cancel the membership of the former Brandenburg head of state and organizer of the far-right “wing” left the party in a state of excitement. However, federal chairman Jörg Meuthen, who pushed Kalbitz out of the party executive board with a small majority, is convinced that the unrest will subside. Meuthen announced this week that he would gradually be able to explain the matter to the party and to the supporters of Kalbitz in eastern Germany.

It won’t be easy. Because the division in the party and at the top is deep. At the most recent conference call by the federal executive board on Monday, the representatives of both camps threatened each other with lawsuits and lawsuits, it is said. The controversial leadership is cautious with insults. But Alexander Gauland, parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, repeats his sentence that it will be difficult for everyone “who started it” should Kalbitz be successful in suing the decision. Gauland, his co-parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel and the co-party leader Tino Chrupalla are outraged that Meuthen has bumped them out by organizing a majority of assessors and secretaries against them on the federal executive board. They do not speak of treason, as Kalbitz’s closest colleague, Thuringian country chief Björn Höcke, did. But the insult is also deep.

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Power struggle in the AfD: The chaos after the Kalbitz cause

Does Andreas Kalbitz’s expulsion from the AfD endure? Does the party split? Who mutinates against Meuthen? Here are the answers.

Andreas Kalbitz (front) has announced to take action against the party exclusion from the AfD Photo: Soeren Stache / dpa

On May 15, about a quarter past five, two men are standing on the balcony at Kurfürstenstrasse 79 in Berlin-Tiergarten, one on the fifth and the other on the sixth floor. They are the two party leaders of the AfD. Jörg Meuthen above, Tino Chrupalla below. A symbolic picture.

Meuthen has just won a victory on the federal board that meets here, Chrupalla has lost. The head of the AfD, Andreas Kalbitz, head of the AfD’s state and parliamentary group in Brandenburg and until a few minutes ago part of this body, revoked party membership with immediate effect. A narrow majority of seven to five votes with one abstention were sufficient.

The formal reason: According to the majority, Kalbitz, when it applied to join the AfD in 2013, did not disclose his previous membership with the Republicans and the now banned neo-Nazi organization Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend (HDJ). According to the statutes, he should have specified both. Since then, the power struggle in the AfD, which always accompanies the party subliminally, has been conducted openly and with all severity. Five dimensions of the conflict and an outlook.

The power: uncertain conditions and a lot of fuss

Although only about a third of the AfD members belong to the extreme right wing, decisions against it are hardly enforceable. Most recently, Jörg Meuthen failed in the debate about a pension concept with the demand to abolish the statutory pension, also on the “wing”.

The party leader, who allowed himself to be voted into office by the far-right network and has pacted with it for a long time, has grown too powerful. And not only for him: officials, especially from the West, put Meuthen under pressure to finally do something. Meuthen only pushed through the decision of the federal executive board that the “wing” must disintegrate. Now he took care of Andreas Kalbitz’s expulsion. A declaration of war.

Björn Höcke promptly shouted “treason”, Götz Kubitschek, Höcke’s whisperer from the Institute for State Policy, accused Meuthen of setting the party on fire. The heads of state from Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt stood behind Kalbitz. The Brandenburg faction resumed its leader even without a party book. It calls for a special party conference at which a new federal executive board is to be elected.

Otherwise it has been surprisingly quiet so far. The regional association of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was not clearly on the side of Kalbitz: “There are different views, per Kalbitz, versus Kalbitz,” said head of state Leif-Erik Holm to the NDR. The whole thing had to be clarified before the arbitral tribunal.

And even in Brandenburg, the majority of the parliamentary group prevented Kalbitz from being confirmed as the leader of the parliamentary group. Because here too the criticism of the Munich native is increasing. Even the Young freedom, still the most important press organ for the AfD, has long since shot its way into the “wing”.

The structure: fragile alliances and an old man

The AfD is an alliance of different currents, some with very different ideas, strategies and goals. Street or parliament? Revolt or government participation? NPD light or CDU of the seventies and eighties? Ethnic or economically liberal social policy? These are some of the lines of conflict in the party.

The now “formally dissolved” wing “with Andreas Kalbitz and Björn Höcke at the top has steadily expanded its influence in recent years, it is dominant in the east and very successful in elections. He does not yet have a majority in the party as a whole, also because the vast majority of AfD members live in the West.

The cohesion within the party has so far been based on the assumption that the AfD’s success is based precisely on this fragile alliance of different currents. The party held together, above all, parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland. But its influence is waning. He gave up party leadership at the end of last year.

The legal process: contradictory assessments and a missing form

Andreas Kalbitz has announced that he will take legal action against the party exclusion both before the AfD arbitral tribunal and before an ordinary court. He doesn’t have bad cards. The Düsseldorf party rights activist Sophie Schönberger told the taz that a cancellation of membership under the Political Parties Act was fundamentally not lawful and that an ordinary party exclusion procedure could not be avoided. An ordinary court will most likely collect the decision.

In addition, it looks difficult with the evidence for Kalbitz’s offenses. His application for membership has been lost, so one lists witnesses and the electronic membership file. There should be information about his previous party and association membership – if he did it.

The AfD does not have proof of membership in the HDJ, which Kalbitz continues to deny, but only the protection of the constitution, who is otherwise happy to be discredited. And Republican membership, which Kalbitz has kept secret for a long time, has been known for several years.

On the other hand: Jena constitutional lawyer Michael Brenner expects that the exclusion will last, as he told the MDR. In addition, the AfD has already canceled membership in comparable cases, for example in the case of Dennis Augustin, the former head of state in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Protection of the Constitution: new influence and a panic surge

The extreme right biography of Andreas Kalbitz has been known for a long time. There were many stations in right-wing extremist associations, and there have been new revelations since 2014. For a long time, this was of little interest to the AfD. Kalbitz was gripping and successful, he organized majorities. It was reliable. Jörg Meuthen also benefited from this.

But then the constitutional protection came on the scene and panicked parts of the AfD. First he classified the “wing” as a right-wing extremist and as a full observation object. The most important reason for this, in addition to Björn Höcke’s speeches and writings: Kalbitz. The authority is currently examining whether the AfD as a whole is at least an extreme right-wing suspected case, a decision is expected soon.

A classification, it is feared in particular in the West AfD, could deter voters and, above all, the numerous civil servants: internally among members and functionaries: internally. Jobs and pensions are at stake for them.

The competition: personal ambitions and a top candidate

As is so often the case in the AfD, it is also about personal interests. Jörg Meuthen is considering moving to the Bundestag next year, where he could inherit Gauland as the top candidate and group leader. To do this, he has to win supporters, since he had recently offended many in the party through his pension concept and the idea that the “wing” might split off from the AfD.

And then there’s Alice Weidel in the way, Alexander Gauland’s Co-Group leader and Federal Vice, who probably wants to continue; the two cannot go together. And because both come from Baden-Württemberg and are party-internal as economically liberal, they are not capable of winning a majority as a team. This is where Meuthen’s co-party leader Tino Chrupalla comes into play – the Saxon is and the “wing” is benevolent.

In addition: Weidel has concluded a kind of non-aggression pact with the “wing”, on the Federal Executive Board voted against the Meuthen proposal, but argued purely formally. The woman likes to keep herself covered as long as the balance of power has not yet been decided. But if Meuthen falls as party leader, Weidel could be ready. Another one of the supposedly more moderate who pacts with the “wing”.

And the outlook?

The dispute almost looks like a new edition of old conflicts: around ex-party leader Bernd Lucke in 2015 and his successor Frauke Petry in 2017. Both were subject to the “wing” in the power struggle, both ended up in political insignificance.

But it is not that simple. Protection of the constitution has sparked a new dynamic in the party, which is already nervous about the dwindling approval of the Corona crisis.

So far, the murmur that Meuthen may no longer be a party leader by the end of the year is no more than that. It is questionable whether there will be a party congress – also due to corona – and the AfD has also planned one for the end of the year anyway No hall found yet. In addition, a two-thirds majority is required to vote out the federal board elected in December.

Bringing these together becomes difficult. And that in the end the party will still split? That is not entirely out of the question. But whoever goes would have to forego the name and structure of the party, which nobody wants. In such a case, the “wing” would become a regional party, a kind of “Lega Ost”. And the others would probably have to do without elections. But first everyone is waiting to see how the legal review of the Kalbitz case ends. A lot will depend on it.

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Coronavirus: AfD demonstration in Stuttgart calls for counter-demonstrators

In Stuttgart, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) demonstrated its position with its demonstration under the motto “Protection of fundamental rights in the times of Corona”. Counter-demonstrators also gathered.



















Duration
Broadcast date
Airtime
6 p.m.
Channel
SWR television BW

100 participants came to the meeting on the Schillerplatz, which was permitted under strict conditions by the Administrative Court (VGH) Baden-Württemberg. The court overturned a ban on the demonstration by the city of Stuttgart on Saturday, but formulated several restrictions. The participants had complied with the requirements with hygiene regulations and distance requirements, the police said. Among other things, the demonstration participants had to wear a mouth-and-nose cover.

Counter-demonstrators insult police officers

The officers showed a strong presence with protected hundreds, riders and water cannons. Numerous people protested against the rally, which the Stuttgart police assigned to the left spectrum. Before the AfD demonstration began, they had gathered on the market square. After the rally ended, they formed a spontaneous elevator. Temporarily, more than 200 people blocked the Planie tunnel in downtown Stuttgart.

At a police cordon, officials were insulted by several counter-demonstrators, and personal details were found on three suspected suspects.

Country chief Alice Weidel as a speaker

AfD state chair Alice Weidel came to Stuttgart as a speaker. It accused the federal government of making all critics conspiracy supporters and railed against the restriction of freedom of assembly. Weidel was already relieved on Saturday that the VGH had overturned the demonstration ban and had followed the party’s urgent request. The rally on Schillerplatz was peaceful, despite numerous noisy counter-demonstrators.

Stuttgart Mayor Martin Schairer (CDU) thanked the emergency services for their commitment to the demonstration. “It was no easy task if the risk of infection with the Corona virus and concern for your own health are constant companions to protect freedom of association,” said Schairer. The city of Stuttgart had previously justified the AfD’s subsequent ban on assembly with reference to the Infection Protection and Assembly Act. The authority had seen a particular danger situation because at previous rallies of the AfD conflictual conflicts between assembly participants and counter-demonstrators had already taken place.

Low participation in demos against Corona requirements

Already on Saturday there had been smaller rallies by critics of the Corona restrictions in several cities in Baden-Württemberg, including Ravensburg and Stuttgart. However, the number of participants had decreased significantly compared to the previous week. Protests and counter demonstrations were also registered in Karlsruhe, Pforzheim (Enzkreis), Offenburg (Ortenaukreis), Heilbronn, Salem (Bodenseekreis), Ulm and Schwäbisch Gmünd (Ostalbkreis). The police reported 50 participants in Singen am Hohentwiel (Constance district), around 150 in Villingen (Black Forest-Baar district) and around 80 in Constance.



















Duration
Broadcast date
Airtime
19:30 o’clock
Channel
SWR television BW

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Authorities prohibit Corona demo in Stuttgart

In Stuttgart, the AfD wanted to protest the measures to contain the corona pandemic. But nothing will come of it. The local authorities banned the gathering – for understandable reasons.

According to the police, a demonstration against the corona restrictions in Stuttgart planned for next Sunday by the AfD must not take place. The assembly was banned by the city of Stuttgart, as a spokesman for the Stuttgart police said on Thursday of the news agency dpa. Among other things, the authorities referred to infection control in the corona crisis. The AfD is now planning to file a rush against the ban, the party said.

Alice Weidel should speak

The Südwest-AfD wanted to demonstrate on May 24 with a rally in downtown Stuttgart against the restrictive measures in the corona pandemic. AfD state chair Alice Weidel should also speak at the demonstration, according to AfD.

“In such a case, CDU ministers of the interior had previously ensured order and also granted the opposition fundamental rights,” said AfD state deputy Markus Frohnmaier. “We will therefore file an urgent request and enforce our right to freedom of assembly in court!” The AfD originally planned the meeting with 500 participants.

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