In the broader sense, a reptile fund is a “ black fund ” made up of funds otherwise diverted from household funds or from black money hidden from taxes , which is usually used to exert political influence or to pay bribes . There is no public accountability for their use. Reptile funds are also called disposition funds.
In the strict sense of the term originated as a result of the Prussian annexation in 1866 , when the Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck after the war against Austria funds from confiscated private property of King George V of Hanover (the Guelph funds ) and funds from the Hessian Elector Friedrich Wilhelm I took to a positive press to buy. He also wanted to get the approval of the Bavarian King Ludwig II to war against France and to establish a German Empire under Prussian hegemony . Even Heinrich Wuttke had the sharp criticism.
Bismarck used the expression in a speech he gave on January 30, 1869, on the occasion of the deliberation on the confiscation of the assets of the Elector of Hesse in the Prussian House of Representatives . In it he described the agents working in the service of the dethroned Elector as "malicious reptiles". However, the opposing press used the term to refer to journalists and organs serving the government.
The term can also describe the budget title of the Federal Chancellery named Title 300: For the Promotion of Information Systems , which has only been subject to the audit of the Federal Court of Auditors since the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany .
The opposition repeatedly suspected the federal government of diverting funds from the federal budget to finance the election campaign, but this could never be proven. The title 300 was subjected until 1967 parliamentary control. Similar titles later served z. B. for the release of political prisoners from the GDR .
Konrad Adenauer's approach to the Saar question was an example of how it was applied during the time of the Federal Republic of Germany : the Chancellor publicly embodied a pro-France attitude, meant to sacrifice the Saar question to the victorious power of France and aroused the hatred of German nationalists, the press and his political environment themselves. Actually, however, he steered towards an answer in German favor by providing the DPS politician Heinrich Schneider 10-11 million DM. The latter agitated in the German sense on the Saar question.
- Robert Nöll von der Nahmer: Bismarck's Reptile Fund. From the secret files of Prussia and the German Reich , Haase & Köhler, Mainz 1968.