Parties debate donation limits in the Tweede Kamer
A large share of the Tweede Kamer wants there to be a limit on the amount that political parties can receive per donor in a year. However, the parties have different views on the maximum amount, which became apparent during a debate on a bill that sets rules for financing. D66 and CDA, which received a million-dollar donation just before the elections last spring, were reluctant.
Ideas about what the boundaries would entail vary significantly. VVD and SP are considering allowing 100,000 euros per donor, but GroenLinks wants to limit it to 25,000 euros per year. The bill, which the previous Cabinet already submitted at the end of 2020, does not contain a maximum.
But parties point to the risk of political parties or their positions being influenced by people with a lot of money. They believe that this is bad for democracy and detrimental to people's already-fragile trust in politics. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest should be avoided, they argue. Moreover, the playing field could become uneven if some parties suddenly have a lot of money to put into their campaigns –– they would actually be "buying" the elections, it was argued.
Last spring, just before the Tweede Kamer elections, the CDA received 1.2 million euros from a donor, D66 one million and the PvdA a few hundred thousand. The CDA is open to a maximum donation but still wants to think about the amount, just like other parties. D66 seems to be the only party that does not want to commit to it now.
D66 MP Hind Dekker emphasized that for social liberals the most important point is transparency, which is also regulated in this law. According to her, everyone can then see who the giver is and how much importance their donation could possibly have. It caused scorn from GroenLinks, SP and PVV, among others. The PvdA supports a maximum.
A number of parties such as VVD, DENK, SP and D66 want smaller gifts to be reported already, with information about the donor. That limit is currently 4,500 euros. The liberals are thinking 1,000 euros. Others don't know yet, but PVV and JA21 think the current limit is appropriate.
Left-wing parties believe that only individuals should donate to political parties. But the VVD and D66, among others, believe that associations and foundations should also be able to do this. The left-wing opposition points out the risk that rich people will still donate much more by hiding behind a foundation.
Reporting by ANP