The finances of the conservative Austrian ÖVP are examined by independent auditors. The Court of Auditors announced this unusual step on Friday. The control authority suspects that the Chancellor’s Party made incorrect statements about its advertising expenditure in the 2019 election year and exceeded the permitted seven million euros on the way to winning the election.
The Court of Auditors also announced complaints to the Independent Party Transparency Senate for suspected improper party financing.
Already in the 2017 election campaign, the conservatives under their then boss Sebastian Kurz had spent almost 13 instead of the legally permitted seven million euros – and were therefore fined by the Transparency Senate. Other parties also exceeded the upper limit at the time, but not to this extent.
According to its own statements, the ÖVP spent only 5.6 million euros for the Austrian parliamentary election campaign in 2019 – significantly less than for the elections to the EU Parliament that year. That was “difficult to reconcile with the political reality of life for the Court of Auditors,” it said. In addition, the Court of Auditors had different internal figures from the party.