Volltext: Liechtenstein and the German tax affair:

was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, so that a relief attack or "coup" represented a 
welcome solution. 
In concrete terms, three parallel arenas could be identified that were linked with each other at 
various places in political communication, but otherwise ran in parallel. On the one side the 
issue of IKB and the Landesbanken in the wake of the subprime crisis, on the other side the 
minimum wage issue and the poor-rich debate. 
Using the actor-network theory (ANT), the actions of individual actors — which would appear 
out of context to the external observer and with respect to the timing, emotionality, or 
emergence of which no general explanation would be found — could thus be made 
understandable. At least they would no longer appear out of context, but rather 
understandable as part of an overarching whole. 
The question of "where does this spill-over effect originate, i.e. from which other arena of an 
actor involved in the main case" can also be asked in another way: "Did any of the involved 
actors need to find a distraction?" 
At the beginning of 2008, the subprime crisis increasingly also concerned and destroyed 
European banks, which had to write off huge sums of money and were bailed out with 
massive financial help by Governments. The media reported in detail on these occurrences, 
generating pressure on the Government and political elite in Germany with many headlines 
and cover stories. The political public in Germany was the only actor that may have needed to 
find a distraction. Federal Minister of Finance Steinbrück appeared primarily involved in this 
billion euro affair and increasingly came under political and public pressure. Some political 
observers argue that he urgently needed a relief attack to distract from the extremely 
uncomfortable IKB issue. 
The issue of minimum wages, which had put Klaus Zumwinkel in a negative light for the 
German Government, and especially Federal Minister of Finance Steinbrück, may have 
entailed that Steinbrück had few objections to Mr. Zumwinkel bearing the full force of the 
consequences of his tax behavior. 
A comparison of the quantitative analysis of the media coverage of the IKB affair — initially 
in the period from 1 January to 13 February 2008 and then from 14 February to 31 March 
2008 — and the quantitative media coverage of the tax affair during the same time periods 
would be a first step toward investigating the question of whether the "staging" of the tax 
affair was actually a relief attack by the Federal Minister of Finance or whether other factors 
were decisive. 
The identified actors are involved in different arenas, and their interests become tangled up 
very quickly. Arenas and actors are linked with each other; a single actor is not limited to a 
single arena, but rather wages battle in several arenas at the same time. He does this with 
respect to one or several different issues, which again require issue management and agenda 
setting. Actors may indeed be closely linked with each other in different arenas, giving rise to 
a dense network. 


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