Rechnungshof

Who shall receive funds from impermissible donations to political parties?

10.12.2019 - ACA President Margit Kraker calls for suggestions

ACA President Margit Kraker is asking the citizens to submit suggestions as to which institutions shall receive funds from impermissible donations to political parties. Suggestions can be sent via email (buergerbeteiligung@rechnungshof.gv.at) and via direct message on Facebook (Facebook RechnungshofAT) by 23 December 2019.

The background to this initiative is as follows: the Political Parties Act stipulates that “impermissible donations” shall not be transferred back to the donor but be forwarded to the ACA. The ACA President then shall determine which institutions “serving charitable or scientific purposes” will receive such party donations. Until now, no such case has occurred. 

Two transfers of EUR 5,000 each

The examination of the Accountability Report 2017 of the Austrian People’s Party, however, revealed two impermissible donations accounting for EUR 5,000 each. These donations concern two mountain railway companies in which the public sector holds 83 and 52 per cent respectively. Therefore, donations to a party or its members and electoral candidates are impermissible. The Austrian People’s Party became aware of the error during the review of the accountability report and admitted it. However, because the donation had already been accepted, it had to be transferred to the ACA. Now, for the first time, funds from impermissible donations are being passed on. 

Announcement of the recipients in early 2020

The Political Parties Act does not provide for specific steps on how to proceed when transferring impermissible donations. ACA President Margit Kraker therefore chose the following approach:

The citizens are asked to submit suggestions as to which “charitable or scientific” institutions should be considered. Furthermore, the ACA President highlights that the institutions should be non-partisan, generally accepted and operate in Austria. The suggestions submitted by the citizens will be summarized in a list, based on which it will be determined by lot which two institutions (EUR 5,000 each) will be chosen. The results will be published in January 2020.

“Before taking a decision as to which institutions shall receive the impermissible donations, I would like to know the opinion of the citizens. This may be a somewhat unusual approach. However, we are speaking of EUR 10,000, which shall go to a good cause. Therefore I would like to know the people’s thoughts on that,” stated ACA President Margit Kraker.