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Political Corruption in U.S., Germany, and Russia

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

Eric Zuesse

The U.S. Government shaped the Governments of Germany and of Russia; and, therefore, the campaign-finance laws in these three countries will be compared here.

The U.S. Government shaped the German Government not only because the U.S. Government (with the cooperation of its WW II allies) shaped post-War West Germany, but because that West German Government then ruled also the former East Germany after 3 October 1990; so, the present German Government is an extension from what U.S. President Truman’s Administration had produced as being West Germany’s Government.

The U.S. Government also shaped the Russian Government because the CIA and U.S. economists were in control over Russia’s Government during Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s Presidency from 30 May 1990 to 31 December 1999, as has been well documented by many articles, such as “How Harvard lost Russia”, “Boris Yeltsin had entourage of ‘hundreds’ of CIA agents who instructed him how to run Russia, claims former parliamentary speaker”, “The plot to kill off the Soviet Union”, and, most recently, “Putin says Russian government was swarming with CIA officers”. (This was the result of decisions that were made by U.S. President G.H.W. Bush.)

So, how do these three Governments today compare regarding campaign finance, which is an extremely important determinant of how corrupt a country is? After all: only if billionaires’ (&/or their corporations and nonprofits or “NGOs”) buying a nation’s head-of-state and its legislators is legally very hard to do, can the given nation even possibly be an authentic democracy. For example: one American billionaire, George Soros, commissioned a study to examine the voting-records of the 751 members of the European Parliament to come up with a list of all who were (as the study became titled) “Reliable allies in the European Parliament (2014 – 2019)”, and exactly 30%, 226 of them, were listed as being such. So: the likelihood of the EU’s actually representing the peoples of Europe would seem to be quite small.

Following here will be answers that are solidly grounded in the written laws of each of these three countries (though not necessarily reflecting how those laws are enforced — or not), regarding the 12 most clearly important questions that were studied. I present those dozen questions in the order that seems to me to provide the clearest sequence in order for the reader to interpret them, not in the order that was employed by the source:

https://www.idea.int/data-tools/data/political-finance-database

   GERMANY:

Germany

Disclaimer: Maps presented do not imply on the part of the Institute any judgement on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement of such boundaries, nor does the placement or size of any country or territory reflect the political view of International IDEA.

https://archive.md/O4WxW

“8. Is there a ban on anonymous donations to candidates?” “There are no explicit provisions regarding donations to candidates.”

“2. Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to candidates?” “There are no explicit provisions regarding donations to candidates.”

“18. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate?” “There are no explicit provisions regarding donations to candidates.”

“10. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to candidates?” “There are no explicit provisions regarding donations to candidates.”

“4. Is there a ban on corporate donations to candidates?” “There are no explicit provisions regarding donations to candidates.”

“6. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to candidates?” “There are no explicit provisions regarding donations to candidates.”

“5. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to political parties?” “There are [is] no explicit … ban on donations from Trade Unions to political parties”

“3. Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties?” “Ban on donation from corporate bodies, but accepted if it is a business enterprise, of whose shares more than 50 per cent of shares are owned by Germans …”

“9. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to political parties?” “No.”

“14. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during a non-election specific period?” “No.”

“16. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during an election?” “No.”

“27. Are there provisions requiring donations to go through the banking system?” “No.”

   RUSSIA

Russian Federation

Disclaimer: Maps presented do not imply on the part of the Institute any judgement on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement of such boundaries, nor does the placement or size of any country or territory reflect the political view of International IDEA.

https://archive.md/dG1RQ

“8. Is there a ban on anonymous donations to candidates?” “No.”

“2. Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to candidates?” “Yes. Ban applies to Russian legal entities with foreign participation, or state participation, or Russian legal entities registered less than a year prior to the payment of the donation.”

“18. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate?” “Yes, for both natural and legal person”: currently (Presidential) $110,000/individual & $1,100,000/corporation; & (legislative) $8,200/individual & $38,500/corporation.

“10. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to candidates?” “No.” [But there is this broader ban on corporate donations:]

“4. Is there a ban on corporate donations to candidates?” “Yes.”

“6. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to candidates?” “No information found in sources.”

“5. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to political parties?” “No.”

“3. Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties?” “Yes.”

“9. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to political parties?” “No” (except relating to corporate donations generally).

“14. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during a non-election specific period?” “Yes” (the same limit as during political contests).

“16. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during an election?”  “Yes” (the same limit as during political contests).

“27. Are there provisions requiring donations to go through the banking system?” “Donations … to electoral funds shall be done through a postal office or a bank in person out of their own means by presenting a passport or an equivalent identity document, … [and with the person’s] tax-payer number [no corporation’s taxpayer number, because corporate donations are banned].”

   U.S.

United States

Disclaimer: Maps presented do not imply on the part of the Institute any judgement on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement of such boundaries, nor does the placement or size of any country or territory reflect the political view of International IDEA.

https://archive.md/kLxbV

“8. Is there a ban on anonymous donations to candidates?” “Yes.”

“2. Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to candidates?” “Yes.”

“18. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate?” “Yes, for natural persons [not for corporations or labor unions].”

“10. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to candidates?” “Yes.”

“4. Is there a ban on corporate donations to candidates?” “Corporations and unions cannot make direct contributions to parties and federal candidates, but they can make contributions through a PAC, subject to limitations.”

“6. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to candidates?” “Yes.”

“5. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to political parties?” “Yes.”

“3. Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties?” “Corporations and unions cannot make direct contributions to parties and federal candidates, but they can make contributions through a PAC, subject to limitations.”

“9. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to political parties?” “Yes, for natural persons.”

“14. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during a non-election specific period?” “Yes, for natural persons.”

“16. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during an election?” “Yes, for natural persons.”

“27. Are there provisions requiring donations to go through the banking system?” “Yes.”

——

U.S. shows 0 clear “No”s (or equivalents, such as “No information found in sources”).

Russia shows 5.

Germany shows 11.

Although this is a very incomplete indicator of a country’s corruptness, it does present the U.S. in a very favorable light, and present Germany (11 out of 12 “No”s) as being rather astoundingly corrupt. Russia is midway between those two, perhaps because after Yeltsin’s abominable rule, Putin cleaned up Russia’s Government, but a lot of that job still remains undone, even after 21 years.

Germany’s Government was more shaped by Truman than perhaps any in the world except America’s own Government. But, from the present indicator, America’s vassal nations would appear to be even more corrupt than the imperial center, the U.S., itself, is — at least insofar as their political campaign-finance laws (“what’s written in black and white” in the lawbooks) are concerned.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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Martin Donohoe
Martin Donohoe
December 13, 2021

Is there a ban on overrepresentation by Jews? No. Don’t be anti-Semitic.

G2mil
December 13, 2021

I think this is why bitcoin has been allowed to flourish. It’s the perfect method to pay secret bribes. The previous method was to give people pre-paid credit cards with $10,000 or so to spend as they like, or off shore secret accounts. But there were recent leaks like the Panama papers that made that worrisome.

Vera Gottlieb
Vera Gottlieb
December 13, 2021

Correction: political corruption all over the globe.

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