Via Deutsche Welle

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) wrote to members to ask for extra cash, saying it is in “serious financial distress,” local media reported Friday. 

The news comes after the party was fined €400,000 ($440,000) in April over illegal campaign funding during regional elections.

Private donations have also shrunk this year for Germany’s biggest opposition party, who oppose multiculturalism, immigration and Islam.

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“We are in serious financial distress,” AfD Treasurer Klaus Fohmann wrote in an e-mail to party members seen by local newspaper group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. He asked the roughly 38,000 members to donate a further annual contribution of €120 ($133).

An investigation is also underway into foreign donations received by parliamentary leader Alice Weidel.

Why were the party fined?

The fines from April related to funds received from Swiss advertising agency Goal AG. German political parties are banned from receiving funds from non-EU sources.

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The party previously said that it had a €1 million reserve fund in case of fines. The current fundraising effort is also aimed to protect against any future legal battles related to potential close observation by Germany’s domestic intelligence service.

The AfD was formed in 2013 and greatly influenced Germany’s political landscape when it won 12.6% of the vote in the 2017 election. It became Germany’s third-biggest party in the Bundestag and is now represented in all state parliaments.

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ed/cw (AFP, dpa)