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Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl before the Investigatory Committee on the CDU Donations Scandal (June 29, 2000)
Former chancellor Helmut Kohl stubbornly refused to disclose the source of the illegal funds he had accepted between 1993 and 1998. Even when questioned by the parliamentary committee set up in December 1999 to investigate the donations scandal, Kohl merely stated that he had given the donors his “word of honor” that they would not be named. By accepting the money, Kohl had not only disregarded the regulations of the Political Parties Act, but also violated the obligation of accountability imposed on all political parties by the Basic Law (Article 21, Paragraph 1, Sentence 4). The secret accounts had helped Kohl stabilize his power internally since he had used the additional funds to support people and groups within his party. In this respect, these financial activities were a characteristic expression of the “Kohl system” of personal dependencies. On February 15, 2000, Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse (SPD) fined the Hessian branch of the CDU 41.3 million Deutschmarks since it, too, had maintained slush funds in Switzerland. On February 15, 2000, he imposed an additional fine of 7.79 million Deutschmarks on the CDU's national organization. Photo: Michael Urban Pool.