Status: 09/15/2021 9:21 p.m.
The AfD is said to have financed a billboard campaign worth millions from unknown donors. This is reported by several media. The party is said to have been run as a “direct customer”. However, she denies any involvement.
The AfD’s donation affair could be larger than previously known. The party is said to have profited massively from an anonymously financed poster campaign between 2016 and 2018. According to research by the Correctiv platform, ZDF and the “Spiegel” magazine, the value should be over three million euros. Thousands of posters have been booked with the advertising space marketer Ströer. For the majority of the bookings, the Swiss Goal AG is said to have been run as the “agency” involved.
Suspicion of illegal party funding
What is explosive is that, according to the research, the AfD was listed as a “direct customer”. That emerges from Ströer’s internal documents. In addition, there were affidavits of former AfD politicians about appointments and meetings between AfD campaign strategists and Ströer employees. If the party was actually involved in the poster campaigns, this could be seen as illegal party funding. The consequence could be fines in the millions.
Experts such as party lawyer Sophie Schönberger from the University of Düsseldorf now see “very strong evidence” that the party was involved in the poster campaign or knew “a lot” about it.
Fines for illegal election campaign
The AfD reported through lawyers that it had neither worked with Goal AG nor with an external association. If there was such a campaign, writes a lawyer, then it was initiated “without the knowledge” of the AfD.
Fines have already been imposed on the party for donations from Goal AG. She had to pay a fine of 270,000 euros because the Swiss PR agency had paid for advertisements, flyers and posters worth almost 90,000 euros for party leader Jörg Meuthen. In the case of AfD politician Guido Reil, a fine of around 130,000 euros was also due.
Ströer no longer accepts party political orders
The advertising marketer Ströer, however, has already taken the necessary steps: The company no longer wants to accept orders for party-political advertising. The background is negative experiences in the current federal election campaign. At the request of the German Press Agency, a company spokesman said that the company had been perceived as a supporter of the content presented in the advertising. This affects different party political directions.