4 February 2004
BERLIN – The youth wing of Germany’s Greens party, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s junior coalition partner, announced a fund-raising drive Tuesday for Democratic Party candidates running against US President George W. Bush.
“A president who prosecutes a senseless war and sacrifices education and health issues for the well-being of the military budget has got to go,” said a statement by the Gruene Jugend (Green Youth).
Benedikt Lux, a Green Youth co-leader, told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa that he knew making foreign donations to any US candidate was illegal.
But he insisted in a telephone interview that the Green Youth would go ahead with a planned rally in Berlin on Wednesday to begin collecting funds.
Under US election law it is illegal for foreign nationals, political parties, governments and corporations to make contributions to candidates.
Contributions are illegal regardless of if they are made directly or through another person. It is also illegal for a candidate to accept such contributions.
Nevertheless, Lux said money collected in Germany would possibly be given to a contact person in the United States to pass on to the candidates.
A United States embassy press spokesman in Berlin declined to comment on the Green Youth election funding plan.
A spokeswoman for the main Greens Party said the youth wing could take independent stands.
“We are not intervening in the American elections,” insisted the spokeswoman, adding, however, that party elders thought it was okay for the Green Youth to “tweak” the American nose.
The Green Youth’s website includes a list of all internet links to Democratic Party candidates in the race and called for donations.
“We can tell you that these people are only a small ray of hope,” admitted the statement which also gave links for the US Greens party.
In seeking to fund candidates in a foreign election, the Greens Youth ironically mirror Germany’s 19th century Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, a man widely detested by the German left.
Bismarck used secret “Reptile Funds” to bribe reporters and to fund political movements both in Germany and abroad. The moniker “Reptile Fund” came from the contempt Bismarck felt for those who took such money.
The Green Youth have 5,000 members.
There are three Greens members in Chancellor Schroeder’s cabinet: Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Minister Renate Kuenast and Environment Minister Juergen Trittin.
Subject: German news