Lobbyism: Second European Member of the European Parliament resigns | Free press

Berlin (dpa) – After lobbying allegations, Thuringian CDU politician Mark Hauptmann, a second member of the Union, resigned his mandate in the Bundestag within days.

Hauptmann told the ‘world’ that he wanted to draw a line with it. “The hostility towards me has become too great. I want to protect my family. The 36-year-old was criticized after several media reports of allegations of lobbying. In the “World” interview, Hauptmann spoke of “misrepresentation, abbreviation and distortion of facts.”

According to a “Spiegel” report, it is about advertisements for tourist accommodations in the authoritatively ruled former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan in the “Südthüringen Kurier” published by Hauptmann. In an interview with «Welt», Hauptmann denies having accepted money from foreign agencies. “I have never received any money and there was never any influence on my political actions,” he said. In response to a question, Hauptmann also denies having received a commission for applying corona protection masks.

Shortly before the state elections in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate on this Sunday, the Union party and political group leaders find the charges against MPs extremely inconvenient. In the mask affair, the deadline for MPs to submit a kind of declaration on honor expires next Friday (6 p.m.). Union party leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) and CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt had asked the 245 CDU and CSU MPs on Wednesday to declare by then that they had achieved no financial gains in connection with the fight against the corona pandemic – not even immediately. about companies.

In Union circles, it was said that in connection with the allegations against Hauptmann, Brinkhaus took action against the Member of Parliament several times, so that he would draw consequences. Brinkhaus and Dobrindt had written to MPs in an email because of the mask affair, because of the events surrounding MPs Georg Nüßlein (formerly CSU) and Nikolas Löbel (formerly CDU), it was the responsibility to “make such facts in full transparency”.

The public prosecutor’s office is investigating Nüßlein because of the initial suspicion of bribery. Löbel had admitted that his company had received about $ 250,000 in commissions for negotiating sales contracts for corona protection masks. The public prosecutor’s office checks whether there is sufficient initial suspicion to start an investigation procedure. Both politicians have since left their respective parties. Löbel resigned from the Bundestag with immediate effect. Nüßlein no longer wants to run to the Bundestag in the autumn.

CDU boss Armin Laschet rejected comparisons of the mask affair with ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s donation affair. “That’s absurd,” he said at an online event of the “Handelsblatt”. The current cases of MPs “doing business in a medical emergency” had “zero point” to do with “a CDU party leader who was also Chancellor” incorrectly accounting for certain donations.

After his tenure, Kohl had admitted that he had not reported donations to the CDU of more than two million D-Marks in the statement of accounts for years. He refused to give the names of the donors publicly because he had given them his word of honor.

Laschet sharply criticized Nüßlein and Löbel. He couldn’t have imagined such a low moral barrier to do such a thing. He could not rule out further cases. “But I can rule out that the CDU of Germany, that is in charge, that 400,000 members have something to do with these crooked paths of some colleagues,” said Laschet.

There is a third accused in the corruption investigation against Nüßlein. According to the Munich prosecution, this is not a politician. According to information from the German news agency, the other suspect is a businessman.

FDP Secretary General Volker Wissing told the “Spiegel” that Union MPs “had not only harmed their party but also harmed politics as a whole”. SPD politician Ralf Stegner called for a ban on paid lobbying for members of the federal and state governments. The mandate should be the focus of their work for parliamentarians, said the Schleswig-Holstein SPD party chairman and federal vice-chairman of the DPA for years.

According to a study by Transparency International Germany, transparency rules for political operations in the federal states are even weaker than at the federal level. Only Thuringia performed better compared to the specifications. “Often there are no rules at all or of poor quality,” explains Wolfgang Jäckle from Transparency in Berlin. “To strengthen the traceability of political action and thus confidence in political decisions, we urgently need to catch up!”

The organization has checked four areas for comparison. Transparency checked whether there is a mandatory lobby register, whether a ‘legislative footprint’ is used to disclose which interest representatives have influenced which laws with their ideas, what deadlines apply for switching from government offices to companies (grace period) and which are there? rules of conduct for MPs.

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