German auto maker Volkswagen waded into a debate over politicians on company payrolls on Thursday by naming six members of the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) it has paid money to. The company said in a statement that it had paid two SPD federal parliamentary deputies and four of the party's representatives in regional assemblies since 1990. Volkswagen said it would end the payments immediately. The issue came to a head in Germany in December after the secretary general of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Laurenz Meyer, resigned after admitting he had received €59,320 ($78,500) from energy giant RWE. He also received discounts on his electricity bills and a low-interest loan. Corruption watchdog Transparency International has said that the practice should be abolished to avoid turning elected representatives into "masked lobbyists".