Earlier this month, a questionable meeting was held at the American embassy in Wassenaar. Organised by Baudet’s Forum for Democracy and hosted by Ambassador Pete Hoekstra, it was described by attendees as a fundraising event for Theirry Baudet’s party. Members of the House of Representatives say it should have never happened.
“This is interference in our elections,” Bram van Ojik of GroenLinks tells De Groene Amsterdammer. About 40% of the guests were entrepreneurs and the rest were party executives, reports De Groene.
Ambassador Hoekstra holds very conservative views on subjects like gay right and abortion, and has roots in the Tea Party. He has previously aligned himself with the Trump administration, and is widely known for getting caught lying about his earlier lies a few years ago.
Fundraiser or forum?
The American embassy doesn’t regard the event as a fundraiser, but rather a ‘town hall meeting’, which would have been more of a public gathering and forum. “It was certainly not a town hall meeting, it was too decided for that. It was an informal kick-off for the election campaign,” an entrepreneur told De Groene.
In the Netherlands, it’s obligatory for political parties to disclose large donations — anything in excess of €4,500, including ‘gifts in kind’ such as lending an event space. This type of campaign evening should be organised according to Dutch guidelines, although the Ministry of the Interior is planning to ban donations from outside the EU in the future. Attending a fundraising event of a particular political party is seen as a no-go for a diplomatic representative and might even go against certain international treaties.
Zeer opmerkelijk! Hier is tekst en uitleg nodig, mogelijk in strijd met Verdrag van Wenen https://t.co/2KwKfqjoGC
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Many attendees are keeping details of the meeting quiet, so as not to harm the party. In response to questioning, the party says, “Forum for Democracy views the United States, the Republican Party, and the Ambassador as important international allies. We maintain good relationships with them.”
What do you think of the meeting at the US embassy — is this type of campaign event appropriate? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Feature Image: Elekes Andor/Wikimedia Commons