Who shall receive money from impermissible donations to political parties?
Margit Kraker, President of the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA), is inviting the Austrian citizens to submit suggestions as to which institutions shall receive money from impermissible donations to political parties. The impermissible donations total EUR 25,158.78 this year. Suggestions can be sent via email to email@example.com and via direct message on Facebook at RechnungshofAT by 10 January 2021.
The Political Parties Act (Parteiengesetz) stipulates that impermissible donations shall not be transferred back to the donors but be referred to the ACA. The President of the ACA shall determine which institutions shall receive the money from such donations. These institutions have to serve “charitable or scientific purposes”. In the last year, the ACA transferred a total of EUR 10,000, which it has received as “impermissible party donations”. Five organizations received EUR 2,000 each.
Where the impermissible party donations of EUR 25,158.78 come from
This year’s total consists of the following amounts:
The district organization Ottakring (16th district of Vienna) of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) received a donation of EUR 5,000 in March 2020 and, from the same donor, another donation of EUR 5,000 in September 2020. For 2020, however, donations have been limited to EUR 7,612.50 per donor. The SPÖ conceded that the donation limit had been exceeded with the acceptance of the donation and therefore reported an impermissible donation of EUR 2,387.50.
The Federal Administrative Court decided that posters, flyers and postcards of the association “GewerkschafterInnen in der SPÖ – GewSPÖ” (Trade Unionists in the SPÖ) used for the Austrian parliamentary elections 2019 are to be regarded as a donation to the SPÖ. Based on this decision, the SPÖ reported an amount of EUR 30,021.28 as a donation. This donation, however, exceeded the statutory donation limit per donor. The amount of the impermissible party donation accounts for EUR 22,521.28 Euro. This is the amount that surpassed the limit or EUR 7,500 for 2019.
In compliance with its accountability obligations for the reporting year 2019, the Austrian senior citizens’ association “Österreichischer Seniorenring (ÖSR)”, an organization affiliated with the federal organization of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), reported to the FPÖ a donation of EUR 250 by the provincial parliamentary group of the FPÖ Carinthia. The FPÖ transferred this amount to the ACA. Pursuant to the Political Parties Act, parties and also affiliated organizations shall not accept any donations by provincial government groups.
The recipients of the donations will be announced in early 2021
The organizations that will receive the money will be decided – as in the last year – by lot. The result will be published on the ACA’s website as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The ACA President considers it important that the recipients of donations are non-partisan and generally recognized organizations operating in Austria.
Transferred party donations – an overview
In 2020, the ACA transferred a total amount of EUR 10,000 of impermissible party donations. The following institutions received EUR 2,000 each:
- Kinderhilfswerk: aims to improve the living conditions of socially disadvantaged children with a focus on the protection against neglect and abuse. It provides advice and therapy and has outreach centres in the cities of Vienna and Linz.
- Rainman's Home: provides support for children with autism, e.g. via day care facilities with care workers.
- Tyrolean Cancer Research Institute: cancer research in the city of Innsbruck with direct application in clinics and hospitals.
- Association Contrast: early support for blind and visually impaired children and visually impaired children with multiple disabilities.
- Association of Autonomous Austrian Women's Shelters: a network of autonomous women’s shelters in Austria, which also operates a women’s helpline against domestic violence.