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Slush Fund Scandal In Germany

While investigations into secret cash donations to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), actually began in 1995, only recently has the scandal come into public light. In November, the German parliament voted unanimously to open a full-scale investigation into the campaign funding scandal. A few weeks later, on December 16, Kohl admitted that he secretly accepted up to $1 million in cash but refused to name the donors. Since then, millions more in undeclared donations have been uncovered, engulfing the current CDU party leadership in suspicion. After a criminal probe was launched against him, Kohl bowed to party pressure and resigned as honorary chairman on January 18. However, he has continued his refusal to identify the donors, fueling speculation that political influence was sold and damaging the party's efforts to clear its name. The CDU's credibility was further damaged when Wolfgang Huellen, head of the party's financial and budget section in Parliament, was found dead of an apparent suicide on January 20. While the current party leader Wolfgang Schaeuble has himself admitted to accepting illegal donations from an arms dealer, the CDU has rallied behind him and instead sought to distance itself from the man who was for so many years synonymous with the party. In fact, some analysts speculate that the CDU may even sue Kohl in an effort to force him to disclose the details of the secret money, as it is unlikely that public attention will diminish until all the facts are revealed. While many commentators argue that this scandal is, in a way, a positive turn of events that will help clean up German politics, they are divided on how it will affect the legacy of Kohl, one of the prime architects of European and, of course, German unity.
Archived Scout Publication URL
  • https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2000/0121
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Date of Scout Publication
January 21st, 2000
Date Of Record Creation
April 3rd, 2003 at 12:38pm
Date Of Record Release
April 3rd, 2003 at 12:38pm
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