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Germany's Social Democrats hit by cash-for-access claims

Associated Press Associated Press 23/11/2016

BERLIN — One of Germany's governing parties says it will ask Parliament to investigate allegations that companies paid for senior party members to appear at corporate events.

The center-left Social Democratic Party says it will also conduct an internal review of the claims aired Tuesday by public broadcaster ZDF.

The Social Democrats are junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition and are in charge of several key ministries, including justice, labor and foreign affairs.

Treasurer Dietmar Nietan said in a statement Wednesday that the party wasn't aware that companies and lobbyists were paying an agency up to 7,000 euros ($7,432) to book senior Social Democrats at events.

The agency is owned by the party's magazine, Vorwaerts.

ZDF's report comes as campaigning for Germany's general election next fall gets underway.

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