Berlin (dpa) – The involvement of Union politicians in the purchase of Corona protection masks is leading to calls for stricter rules of conduct for MPs across party lines.
The opposition, as well as coalition partner SPD and independent organizations such as Transparency Germany, judge the steps announced by the leadership of the Union’s fraction as half-hearted. They demand much stricter measures.
In a 10-point plan of the SPD group, bribery and corruption of MPs should no longer be classified as a crime, but as a crime with at least one year in prison. The plan is available to the German news agency in Berlin. First, the editorial network Germany reported about it.
“The mask affair in the Union must have legal consequences, as we have long demanded from our coalition partner,” SPD group leader Rolf Mützenich told the RND. “It is not just about dealing with individual cases, nor is it about internal compliance rules in the sense of some kind of self-commitment, as the Union is planning.”
The Greens called on the other parties to discuss stricter transparency rules. “While people and businesses are suffering from the pandemic, members of the CDU / CSU are enriching themselves by making mask deals,” the Green Group’s first parliamentary director, Britta Haßelmann, and federal director Michael Kellner wrote in a letter to their counterparts. the CDU, CSU, SPD, FDP and links. The letter has been submitted to the German news agency.
In particular, the Greens are putting a “legislative footprint” into play. This should make it clear which stakeholders are involved in the drafting of bills. The lobby register agreed between the coalition groups of CDU / CSU and SPD does not yet provide for this. MEPs must publish income from secondary employment according to the will of the Greens in euros and cents. “We are also calling for stricter rules on business investment, non-cash benefits and stock options for MPs.” Charity lobby should be banned for MPs and bribery of MPs clarified.
“A voluntary code of conduct or internal group obligations is far from over,” said Jan Korte, the first parliamentary manager of the left-wing faction. What is immediately needed is a legal ban on paid lobbying by MPs and an effective lobby registration law. “And in the rules of procedure of the Bundestag we now have to regulate that extra income must be published in euros and cents.”
Transparency Germany Chairman Hartmut Bäumer expressed a similar view: “If the union takes transparency and education seriously, any lobbying activity by a Member of Parliament that brings him direct financial benefits should be discontinued in the future.” Compliance with these binding regulations, such as the lobby register, would then have to be monitored by an independent body.
Union leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) and CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt announced stricter rules for the union faction on Monday. They responded to the mask case of members of parliament Georg Nüßlein (CSU) and Nikolas Löbel (CDU). The public prosecutor’s office is investigating Nüßlein because of the initial suspicion of bribery. Löbel has admitted that his company has received approximately $ 250,000 in commissions for brokerage of 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.
Brinkhaus and Dobrindt announced in a letter to all CDU / CSU MPs on Monday: “We will introduce a regime of demands and sanctions within our parliamentary group that clearly defines what behavior we expect from a CDU / CSU Member of the Bundestag and what sideline membership in our group are compatible and which are not. “The group leadership will also immediately submit proposals for more transparency in side activities.” In addition, we want to significantly lower the limit of 10,000 euros above which party donations must be reported in the party reports.
In its ten-point plan, the SPD on Tuesday called for a ban on paid lobbying activities in addition to the mandate, a ban on accepting donations for MPs and an exact publication of additional income. The size of secondary employment would have to be specified, as well as stock options and business premises of 5 percent of the voting rights – not just 25 percent as today. Party donations must be limited to a maximum of EUR 100,000 per donor per year. The obligation to publish donations will be reduced from 10,000 to 2,000 euros. Meetings with lobbyists should be published for legislative proposals.
From the point of view of FDP Chairman Christian Lindner, it is not enough that the two members of the Union have drawn personal conclusions. “For us, the question is also in the room: what happened at the Ministry of Health? How was it possible that MPs with business interests could successfully influence procurement processes? Lindner said on Tuesday in Berlin and again called for the engagement of an independent special investigator.
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had announced that he wanted to make public the names of all MPs involved in the mediation of mask shops. On Tuesday, he was informed by the Bundestag government that under relevant case law, MPs have a legitimate interest in the confidentiality of personal data, which is protected by the freedom of mandate. “Such data should therefore only be released in very limited exceptional cases,” said a spokesperson. The surrender does not appear to be legally objectionable if the ministry has given the consent of the persons involved.