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03.04.2020, . 09:39

The Re-organization of Public Party Funding

A. Introduction

With the Sixth Law to Amend the Law on Political Parties (PartG) and Other Laws of 28 January, 1994 -which came into force with retroactive effect from 1 January, 1994- the public funding of political parties in the framework of Art. 21, paragraph 1 of the Basic Law (GG), has been fundamentally revised. The previous regulations-concerning the reimbursement of the election campaign costs and the equalization of opportunities in the PartG, the Europe Election Law as well as the pertinent statutory provisions of the federal states, have been replaced by regulations which make provision for partial funding of political parties by the state.

B. Legislative procedure

New regulations became necessary after the Federal Constitutional Court declared essential parts of the old regulations to be unconstitutional in their ruling of 9 April. 1992 and gave the legislators the task of removing the unconstitutional regulations by 1994. At the same time, the Court explicitly gave the legislators the opportunity to dispense with the limited reimbursement of election campaign costs and to provide general public funds. After a commission of independent experts set up by the Federal President, as required by the PartG for this kind of fundamental legal amendment, made proposals for the re-organization of public party funding to the legislators, the parliamentary groups of the Bundestag introduced a bill in Parliament on 28 September. 1993. The German Bundestag adopted this bill on 12 November, 1993 with the votes of the CDU/CSU, F.D.P. and parts of the SPD parliamentary group.The majority of members of the Bundesrat (Council of Constituent States) consented to the law on 17 December, 1993. The Federal President signed the law in accordance with Art. 82, paragraph 1 GG on 28 January, 1994.

C. The main principles of the re-organization

I. Direct public subsidies (sections 18 to 22 PartG)

1. Criteria for allocation

In accordance with the new law, political parties annually receive subsidies according to their degree of establishment in society, which is measured, on the one hand by the number of votes they obtain and, on the other, by the total amount of subscriptions and donations they receive. The subsidies are calculated as follows: every year a party receives DM 1.30 per valid second vote for the first 5 million votes that it receives in total at elections to the European Parliament, the Bundestag and the Landtage, or state parliaments, as well as DM 1.00 for each additional vote (digressive grading)- Donations and subscriptions up to DM 6,000 for each natural person are subsidized to the amount of DM 0.50 for each DM 1.00 of subscriptions and donations (in accordance with section 18, subsection 3 PartG). Of the funds calculated for the whole party, its associations in each Land, or federal state. receive DM 1.00 for each vote for this party at elections to the Landtag (section 18, subsection 8 PartG). The remaining funds go to the parties' federal associations, if necessary cut in line with the relative and absolute upper limits (see below under 3.).

2. Preconditions for claiming public funds

To be eligible for public funds, parties -with the exception of those representing ethnic minorities- must have received a certain number of second votes. For elections to the European Parliament and elections to the Bundestag this quorum has been set at 0.5 per cent in accordance with the previous arrangements for the reimbursement of election campaign costs. For Landtag elections, a uniform quorum of 1 per cent has now been established for all the Lander (section 18, subsection 4 PartG).

3. Relative andabsolute upper limit

If a party receives public funds, these funds must not exceed the party's own income, comprised mainly of donations and subscriptions (section 18, subsection 5, sentence 1 PartG). This relative upper limit ensures that the parties are not funded mainly by the state (the principle of self-funding takes precedence over public funding).

The total amount of public subsidies calculated for all the parties must not exceed an absolute upper limit of currently DM 230 million a year. If either the relative or the absolute upper limit is exceeded, a corresponding proportional cut is made in the subsidies for each party's federal association (in accordance with section 18, subsection 5, sentence 2 and section 19, subsection 6 PartG). The absolute upper limit can be changed by law. Proposals for this are worked out by a commission of independent experts-set up by the Federal President (section 18, subsection 6 PartG).

4. Fixing and disbursement

The President of the German Bundestag fixes the amount of public funds for all parties' federal and Land associations entitled to claim as at 1 December every year (section 19 subsection 2 PartG) and disburses the calculated amount to the parties' federal associations. In addition, the President of the German Bundestag bindingly informs the Presidents of the Landtage, as the authorities responsible for granting funds at Land level, of the amount .to be disbursed to the parties' Land associations. On request the parties receive three part payments of 25 per cent of the amount fixed the previous year (on 15 February, 15 May and 15 August). They are set off against the amount fixed as at 1 December (section 20, subsection 1 PartG).

5. Final and transitional arrangement

Parties which, in view of the fact that reimbursement of election campaign costs no longer takes place, have received part payments which were less than the average level of annual funding, receive the differential amounts in the form of a final payment (section 39, subsection 1. sentence 1 PartG). For the fiscal years 1992 and 1993, the law grants the parties additional amounts, as part of the equalization of opportunities, for 1994 and 1995 (section 39. subsection 1. sentence 2 PartG). Since, for the calculation of the public subsidy in 1994. the parties' statements of account from the previous year do not yet show the volume of donations and subscriptions (DM 6,000 per natural person), as a transitional arrangement the legislators have taken as a basis 60 per cent of the average volume of donations and subscriptions in 1991 and 1992 (section 40, subsection 1, sentence 1 PartG).

The provisional calculation of partial public funding based on the transitional arrangement is shown in the table in the appendix.

II. Indirect funding through the tax deducibility of donations and subscriptions in accordance with the Income Tax and Corporation Tax Law (EStG. KStG)

In principle the receipt of donations and subscriptions to the parties are. as before, promoted by the tax deductibility of donations for the donor. However donations by natural persons are now only tax deductible up to an amount of DM 6,000 (DM 12,000 for married persons who donate together) which is the amount an average wage-earner can be expected to donate (section 10 b, subsection 2; section 34 g, sentence 2 EStG). The Federal Constitutional Court has ruled explicitly that donations by corporations are no longer tax deductible in order to prevent the restriction on natural persons being by-passed by additional donations through a corporation. This also applies to professional associations which are exempt from corporation tax: their donations to parties are taxed at a rate of 50 per cent. If a professional association uses more than 10 per cent of its income to support political parties, it automatically loses its tax exemption (section 5, subsection 1. sentence 5 KStG).

III. The parties' obligation to render accounts (sections 23 to 31 PartG)

In principle the parties still have to render accounts on their assets as well as on the origin and expenditure of their funds in accordance with Art. 21, paragraph 1, sentence 2 GG. To make the statements of account as dear as possible, and therefore transparent for everybody, section 24, subsections 2 to 4 PartG stipulates how income, expenditure and assets are to be listed. A new regulation requires that membership subscriptions and donations from natural persons up to an amount of DM 6,000 per person are listed separately in order to make it possible to calculate the amount of public subsidies a party can obtain for a particular donation. The limit at which large donations have to be made public has been lowered from DM 40,000 to DM 20,000 by a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court which came into force with retroactive effect on 9 April, 1992.

The PartG now makes the rendering of accounts easier for small and financially weak parties which do not meet the requirements for partial public funding. In their case, in order to make the examination of their statements of account less costly, it may be carried out by a certified accountant rather than an auditor.

Sources:

Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichtes vom 9. April 1992 (2 BvE 2/89). BVerfGE 85, 264 ff.

Empfehlung der Kommission unabhangigerSachverstandigervom 19. Februar 1992, BT-Drs. 12/4425

InterfraktionellerGesetzesentwurfvom 28. September 1993, BT-Drs. 12/5774.

Antrag der Gruppe BQndnis 90/Die Grunen vom 29. September 1993, BT-Drs. 12/5777.

Stenographisches Protokoll uber die 77. Sitzung des Innenausschusses vom 18. Oktober 1993 (Anhorung).

Kurzprotokoll der 97. Sitzung des Rechtsausschusses vom 28. Oktober 1993.

BeschluBempfehlung und Bericht des Innenausschusses vom 9. November 1994, BT-Drs. 12/6090.

Anderungsantrag der Gruppe BOndnis 90/ Die Grunen vom 11. November 1993, BT-Drs. 12/6139.

BT-Plenarprotokoll vom 12. November 1993 Nr. 12/90. S. 16403-16414.16448 f.

BR-Plenarprotokoll vom 17. Dezember 1993 Nr. 664. S. 629. 647 f.

Presseerklamng des Bundesprasidialamtes vom 28. Januar 1994.

Sechstes Gesett zur Anderung des Parteiengeseczes und anderer Gesetze vom 26. Januar 1994., BGBI. I S. 142.

Neufassung des Parteiengesetzes vom 31. Januar 1994, BGBI. I S. 149.

Becher. Johannes

    Untemchtung Qber Empfehlungeri der Kommissionen und ihre Umsetzung. , hier Parteienfinanzierung, in: Protokoll der Interparlamentarischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft Nr. 68 vom 15. November 1993.

Drysch. Thomas

    Staatliche Parteienfinanzierung und kein Ende: das neue Parteienfinan-zierungsgesetz, in: NVwZ 1994. S. 218 ff.

Hofmann. Hans

    DiestaatlicheTeiirmanzierung derParteien, in: NJW 1994, S. 691 ff.

Sendler. Horst

    VerfassungsmaKige Parteienfinanzierung?. in; NJW 1994, S. 365 ff.

Appendix: Table and graph showing the provisional calculation for partial public funding of the parties in accordance with section 40 PartG (without the final payment pursuing to section 39 PartG).

Information by: Deutscher Bundestag. Referat fur Parteienfinanzierung und Landerparlamente (PD 2)

Appendix: 1

Provisional Calculation of Partial Public Funding (section 40 PartG)

As at 4 Februar,1994
in DM thousand

Party

Calculatio of partial public funding

Election

Donations/subscribtion 91|92

Share accounted for by votes

Share accounted for by donations and subscribtions

Sum

Absolute upper limit

Relative upper limit

Final ammount

Votes Votes at the last election to the Bundestag the European Parliament and the 16 Landtage(in thousand)

Tool

3 Million votes x DM 1.30, additional votes x DM 1.00

60 per cent of the advantage of all subscribtions and donations x DM 0.50

Share accounted for by votes and by donations and suscribtions

Proportional cut at DM 230,000,000

Average in statements of account the 91/92

Taking into account the relative upper limit

SPD

41.725

348.753

43.225

52.313

95.538

89.229

229.855

89.229

CDU

39.737

263.462

41.237

39.519

80.756

75.423

147.994

75.423

F.D.P.

9.361

51-341

10.861

7.701

18.562

17.336

31.222

17.336

CSU

8.676

62.012

10.176

9.302

19.478

18.192

33.545

18.192

BU90/Grune

7.039

40.129

8.538

6.019

14.558

13596

25.198

13.596

PDS

1.484

34.278

1-929

5.142

7.070

6.604

39.262

6.604

REP

4.296

6.720

5.584

1.008

6592

6.157

3.721

3.721

DVU

585

6.347

760

952

1.712

1.599

3.223

1.599

GRAUE

405

612

527

92

619

578

384

384

ODP

374

2.136

486

320

807

754

1.257

754

Others

291

1.277

379

192

571

533

1.427

245

Total

113.972

817.066

123.702

122.560

246.262

230.000

517.088

227.082


Source: German Bundestag

Berechnung der endguItiqen staatlichen Teilfinanzlerung 1997 (1)

PARTEl

STIMMENKONTO

ZUWENDUNGEN

WAHLERANTEIL

ZUWENDUNGSANTEIL

SUMME

ABSOLUTE OBERGRENZE

RELATIVE OBERGREMZE

ENDBETRAG

VERTEILUNG BUND/LAND

42.814.858

164.407.644,00

44.314.858,00

62.203.822,00

126.518.680,00

87.891.919,65

192.594.496,00

87.891.919,65

14.284.807,00

73.507.112,65

40.544.444

121.613.429,00

42.044.444,00

60.806.714.50

102.651.158.50

71.450.206,08

149.187.600.00

71.450.206,08

13.108.411,00

58.341.795,08

10.337.119

25.002.564,00

11.837.119,00

12.501.282.00

24.338.401.00

16.907.770,34

33.563.544.00

16.907.770,34

3-349.536,00

13.568.234.34

8.902.514

33.668.450.00

10.402.514.00

16.844.225.00

27.246.739.00

18.928.178.79

45.491.568.00

18.928.178,79

3.081.944,00

15.846.234,79

6.601.739

20.541.478.00

8.101.739,00

10.270.739.00

18.372.478.00

12.763.272.27

28.219.121.00

12.763.272,27

1.900.475,00

10.862.797,27

5.211.722

21.383.750,00

6.711.722,00

10.691.875,00

17.400.597.00

12.090.195,29

24.411.670.00

12.090.195,29

1.475.230,00

10.614.965,26

3.364.366

5.626.844.60

4.373.675,80

2.813.422,30

7.187.098,10

4.992.842,65

7.566.073.29

4.992.842,56

1.102.057,00

3.890.785,55

542.864

1.061.160,22

705.723,20

530,580.11

1.236,303.31

658.853.97

1.141.814,77

858.653,97

28.356,00

830.497,97

468.043

3.532.745,87

608.455,90

1.766.372,94

2.374.828.84

1.649.782,19

3.693.411.81

1.649.762,19

194.267,00

1.455.515,19

396.590

1.062.142,64

515.567.00

531.071.32

1.046,638.32

727.094,62

1.262.132.81

727.094,62

10.914,00

716.1B0.62

231.265

41.532,00

300.644.50

20.765,00

321.410,50

223,282.34

54.775.53

54.775.63

0,00

54.775,63

113.796

2.250.028.49

147.933,50

1.125.014.25

1.272.947,75

884.310,69

2.635.047.67

884.310,69

113.795.00

770.515,69

87.006

478.570,93

113.107,60

239,285,47

352.393.27

244.805,91

' 535.992.41

244.805.91

87.006,00

157.799.91

59.936

130.488,52

77.916,60

65.244.26

143.161.06

99.453.30

138.995,65

99.453,30

59.936,00

39.517,30

38.285

140.172,26

49.770,50

70.086,13

119,856.63

83.263,63

576.715,81

63.263,63

38.285,00

44.978,53

36.735

177.209,00

47.755,50

88,604,50

136,360,00

94.728.64

368.750,59

94.728,61

36.735.00

57.993.64

28.206

111.301,69

36,667,80

55.650,85

92.318.65

64.133.32

159.150.12

64.133.32

28.206,00

35.927.32

15.060

93.006,19

19.578,00

46.503,10

66.081,10

45.906,22

197.169,00

45.906i,22

15.060,00

30.846.22

119.794.547

401.342.517,41

130.409.192,30

200.671.258,73

33l.080.451,03

230.000.000,00

491.798.028,76

229.831.493,29

38.915.020,00

190,916.473,29







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