“A donation affair involving party leader Jörg Meuthen will be expensive for the AfD: the party accepts the fine imposed in the amount of almost 270,000 euros. The Federal Executive Board decided on Friday not to appeal in the dispute with the Bundestag administration, the AfD announced. The meeting of the top body in Suhl, Thuringia, should also deal with the handling of the politician Andreas Kalbitz.
The donations affair is about the state election campaign of AfD leader Meuthen in Baden-Württemberg in 2016. At that time, the PR agency Goal AG, based in Switzerland, hung posters, distributed flyers and ran advertisements in local newspapers. This was financed by donors. The Bundestag considered the whole process to be a prohibited acceptance of anonymous donations and imposed a fine of 269,400 euros.
The AfD, on the other hand, took the case in the Berlin Administrative Court and lost. Before the trial was concluded, Meuthen had announced that he would appeal in the event of a defeat. This is now dispensed with. As a result, the fine will soon become final, the AfD said. The six-figure sum would be deducted from the regular contributions from the state party financing.
The board remains “deeply convinced” of the “illegality” of the fine notice, Meuthen said. However, it is “rather questionable that we would prevail with our legal opinion in further instances”. At the same time, the procedure is very complex and expensive.
“Sober balancing of opportunities and risks”
The party executive board had therefore “decided, in a sober balance of the opportunities and risks, to renounce the further attempt to enforce our right in this matter,” Meuthen continued. “Sometimes you’re right and just get two different things, who wouldn’t have experienced that,” he said.
At its meeting, the AfD’s federal executive also wanted to talk about the Causa Kalbitz, who was also to be present himself. Kalbitz was a member of the Federal Executive Committee until the board withdrew his party membership in May. He was accused of concealing membership in the banned far-right “Home Faithful German Youth” when he joined the party. Kalbitz denies such membership.
A week ago, the Berlin district court ruled that Kalbitz may return to the AfD until the party’s Federal Arbitration Court makes a decision on the main proceedings. However, according to a report by the ARD capital studio, the arbitral tribunal ruled in an urgent procedure on Tuesday that Kalbitz had to leave the party for the time being.
The AfD legal expert Roland Hartwig considers this decision to be non-binding. The decision of the regional court states that “Mr. Kalbitz has been reinstated in all rights and duties as a party member and as a federal executive director until the arbitral tribunal of the party has finally ruled in the so-called main proceedings, and this decision is still not available,” Hartwig said on Friday on RBB-Inforadio.
He declined to comment on whether Kalbitz’s ejection was unfounded. Hartwig had said in May that the decision of the Federal Executive Board would not be legally valid.