In a dramatic double-barrel attack Wednesday on Helmut Kohl, his party pressed the former German chancellor to identify secret campaign donors and a top party official openly accused him of breaking the law.
The conservative Christian Democrats distanced themselves from their former leader in the sharpest terms yet in an attempt to limit political fallout from the scandal.
At a meeting of the party's executive board Wednesday, members unanimously warned Kohl to disclose everything about anonymous cash contributions he says he received.
And the party's general secretary published a scathing commentary in Germany's leading conservative daily urging a break with Kohl.
"Kohl's acknowledged actions have caused damage to the party," Angela Merkel wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. "It's up to us to take our future in our hands."