It was FPÖ boss Norbert Hofer who launched the initiative: Inspired by the debate about party finances and private donations, which was harmful to everyone – currently primarily the ÖVP – he demanded a general ban on donations. Such a thing can be discussed in view of the very high level of public funding for political parties – at least for the corporate sector.
But it certainly doesn’t solve all problems. How do you guarantee the permeability of the system for new groups? Most recently, there were two additions with different outcomes: Frank Stronach put over 20 million euros against the system – and his project was spectacularly in the sand. Had he been more strategic, he would have left deeper marks.
While Stronach was spending his own money, the Neos had to rely on someone else to get out of the starting blocks. They used it more professionally, are now considered to be an asset and also initiated changes in other parties.
One area is currently completely underexposed: If a potent financier tries to influence the political debate, he can do so at any time, following the US model of the “super-PACs”. You don’t need a party for that. Hans Peter Haselsteiner demonstrated this in the presidential election campaign with his “No to Öxit” campaign.
The content was understandable, but clearly directed against a candidate (Norbert Hofer mentioned above). Only one thing can help: full transparency of donations and (also indirect) election campaign expenses from the first euro.