Wolfgang Schäuble during the Bundestag Debate on the CDU Donations Scandal (January 20, 2000)
In November 1999, former CDU treasurer Walter Leisler Kiep, who was under investigation for tax evasion, revealed that the CDU maintained secret accounts that were known to the party’s central bodies. This information was confirmed by former CDU general secretary Heiner Geißler. In mid-December 1999, under growing pressure, longtime chancellor Helmut Kohl admitted that between 1993 and 1998 he had accepted 1.5 to 2 million Deutschmarks in donations that had not been recorded in accordance with the provisions of the Political Parties Act. Wolfgang Schäuble (pictured here) promised a thorough investigation of the donations scandal, but it turned out that he, too, had violated the Political Parties Act by accepting a cash donation of 100,000 Deutschmarks from arms lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber in 1994. Since these revelations destroyed Schäuble’s credibility, the CDU/CSU Bundestag faction decided in February 1999 to reelect their entire national executive committee. Schäuble responded by announcing his resignation as head of the parliamentary faction. Photo: Bernd Kühler.