Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) is not stingy with PR spending. In the second half of 2021 alone, their expenses for advertisements and campaigns cost taxpayers an impressive nine million euros.
Lothar Lockl, managing co-partner of the agency Lockl & Keck GmbH, is one of the people who can often look forward to PR orders worth several hundred thousand euros. The orders that have been announced so far have a total volume of an impressive 1,940,000 euros! This resulted in several parliamentary questions.
The climate protection initiative “klimaaktiv” tried to promote energy saving with – shall we say – unusual tips. For those who do not have a dishwasher, the website says: “Do not pre-rinse with warm water” and: “A stubble in the sink saves a lot of hot water and therefore costs”. In addition, food scraps could be “scraped off” with the cutlery instead of rinsing off with water.
As can now be seen from the answer to a question from FPÖ MP Michael Schnedlitz, the Ministry of Climate Protection has spent a further 300,000 euros in tax money over the next two years to carry out this initiative. This is good news for “Lockl & Keck” again, because once again it is this agency that has been commissioned to handle the transaction. Not for the first time.
An SPÖ request in March revealed that Gewessler had already raised around 300,000 euros for the climate protection initiative in the second half of 2021, and Lockl was the contractor again.
It doesn’t look much different in previous years. “Lockl & Keck” received around 650,000 euros in 2020, and another 300,000 euros in the first half of 2021.
But that’s still not all. “Lockl & Keck GmbH” also collected around 390,000 euros from the climate council, which cost two million euros, thanks to lavish PR orders. Particularly perfidious: When the contract was awarded for the outrageously expensive prestige object of the minister, the procedure was not entirely objective. As later became known, Lothar Lockl and his PR agency were the largest contractors for the project, but only ranked third (!) in the award procedure.
100 people selected at random took part in the council over six weekends to discuss future issues. At least 236,000 euros in tax money were earmarked for the six weekends in luxury hotels alone (Hilton Danube in Vienna, Heffterhof and the St. Virgil house in Salzburg). The PR costs should amount to a maximum of 520,000 euros. The communicative took over – guess what! – Lockl & Keck GmbH. Accompanying the start cost around 90,000 euros, the costs for the communicative accompaniment from February to June, which were described as the maximum order value in the response to the inquiry, were estimated at 304,552 euros.