(From the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers)
The German pharmaceutical company BAYER traditionally belongs to the most important foreign donors in the US election campaign. At the moment, as during former election campaigns, BAYER generously supports the Republican Party. Its donations of US$ 261,000 make the company the largest German donor to the Republicans, followed by telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom ($193,500) and chemical producer BASF ($128,000).
To avoid losing the sympathy of the other side, BAYER also donates $119,000 to the Democrats. The ratio was similar four years ago, when BAYER donated $152,000 to Republican candidates and $115,000 to Democrats. In the times of G. W. Bush, the German company donated as much as 79% of its election donation budget to the Republicans.
Says Philipp Mimkes from the Coalition Against BAYER Dangers: "American politics are in a stranglehold of lobbyists and powerful donors. This prevents improvements of environmental and consumer protection. The noble ideal of "One Man, One Vote" in the American constitution has turned into a disdainful "One Dollar, One Vote"." The Coalition demands laws stopping companies from donating to parties, politicians and think tanks.
During the mid-term elections in 2010, BAYER, BASF and the German electric provider E.ON specifically backed candidates who deny climate change or block effective climate laws. BAYER is also one of the supporters of the American Heartland Institute, which denies the existence of climate change and was instrumental in the rise of the reactionary 'Tea Party'. The institute collects donations from the industrial sector and uses them, amongst other things, to finance blogs and pay seemingly neutral organisations - all with the aim of planting doubt about climate change.
Companies in the US are not allowed to donate directly to a party or candidate. However, they can found so-called Political Action Committees (PACs) that collect money for the candidates from chief executives and business partners.
· Chart of German companies' donations: www.cbgnetwork.de/4594.html