Calls for extensive consequences of the mask affair | Free press

Berlin (dpa) – After private deals by union members with corona masks, there have been loud calls for far-reaching consequences.

The German head of Transparency International, Hartmut Bäumer, called on the Bundestag to amend its rules of procedure to penalize certain forms of lobbying. The parliamentary groups should draw up a similar internal regulation, “with a gradual sanction mechanism of warning against the exclusion of parliamentary groups,” he told Funke media group newspapers. Direct extra income, such as that of members of the Bundestag as lobbyists for a particular product bought by ministries, should be completely avoided, he says.

Shortly before the state elections in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate on March 14, two Union politicians are also under massive internal criticism: CDU politician Nikolas Löbel’s company is said to have collected commissions of about 250,000 euros for having sales contracts. for corona masks mediated between a supplier and two private companies. After severe criticism, Löbel resigned from the CDU on Monday and immediately withdrew from parliament.

The CSU member Georg Nüßlein is also said to have collected a six-figure sum for the mediation of supply contracts for FFP2 masks to the federal government and the Bavarian state government. The Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating him for initial suspicion of corruption in connection with the purchase of masks. He had initially resigned as vice-chairman of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag and announced that he no longer wanted to commit himself to the Bundestag. Over the weekend, he resigned completely from the group. According to CSU Secretary General Markus Blume, he also left the party on Monday.

The leadership of the Union parliamentary group announced extensive measures to MPs on Monday to prevent a recurrence of such events. “As a parliamentary group, we will give ourselves a code of conduct that goes far beyond what is legally expected of members of the German Bundestag,” said a letter from Group Chairman Ralph Brinkhaus and CSU Group Leader Alexander Dobrindt to union members. . In the “heute journal” of the ZDF, Brinkhaus admitted: “We made mistakes there, we did not look enough, it has to get better.”

CDU party leader Armin Laschet said Monday evening in the ARD “Tagesthemen” that if anyone in the CDU had done similar things to Löbel, this person now has time to tell him personally before it is noticed. Now is the time to clear the table, “if not, we’ll do it,” he made clear.

FDP chief Christian Lindner called for a special investigator to be set up to resolve the matter of Bundestag members’ committees to purchase corona-protective masks. He told the “Mannheimer Morgen”: “For example, a former member of the Constitutional Court could use files to clarify whether all has gone well with the procurement plans since the start of the pandemic.” According to Lindner, a corresponding report could dispel any doubts ahead of the general election in September. Lindner made a similar statement in the “Heilbronn vote”.

Meanwhile, SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans called for a tightening of the lobby register on which the Union and the SPD had reached agreement. “All Democrats should be concerned that greed and nepotism have no chance in our parliaments,” Walter-Borjans said in the Funke media group newspapers. He called on the party leaders of the CDU and CSU, Armin Laschet and Markus Söder, to stand up with the SPD for “effective rules on transparency and sanctions”. A week ago, the government parliamentary groups in the Bundestag reached agreement on the structure of the new register. According to critics, the plans do not go far enough.

Constitutional lawyer Joachim Wieland told the “Mannheimer Morgen” that the law on parliament was rather toothless. “Accepting benefits is only prohibited if it is done for no consideration or if it has a specific effect on voting behavior.” Löbel approached companies and bragged about his contacts as a politician. “But that’s not against the law at the moment.” When asked whether political ancillary activities should be banned, he said: “Constitutional law sets strict limits. A general ban would be unconstitutional. He called on politicians to disclose the exact amount of their secondary employment income.

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