Secret matter of secondary income

The new requirement to publish the perquisites of members of the Bundestag will be put on hold for the time being. Never-never day postponed

After considerable scandals about the involvement of various deputies with the RWE concern, where substantial payments had been accepted without any recognizable consideration, considerable prere was put on the deputies to now make their side activities more transparent (problems with hidden lobbyists).

As a result, the old Bundestag still managed to tighten the behavioral guidelines, which were laid down in a new order of business of the Bundestag. According to this, members of parliament who have more than 1.000 euros a month or more than 10.If a member of parliament earns more than 10,000 euros a year, he will report this to the president of the Bundestag, who will in turn publish the income. This was supposed to lead to greater transparency and a new basis of trust between the members of parliament and their employers, the voters.

Secret matter of side letters

But even before the new regulation came into force, there was criticism from the ranks of some deputies. And even during his inaugural speech in the Bundestag, the new Bundestag President Lammert had spoken of "exaggerations" in connection with the new practice, which would have to be "readjusted". This is exactly what he has done now, by first waiting to see what the complaints of six members of parliament to the Federal Court of Arrest will reveal. According to experts, this could take years.

It seems that Lammert has finally found a pretext to prevent the publication of the delegates’ payments for incidental activities. Weeks ago, only after considerable protests from the people, he managed to publish the export regulations of the new rules of procedure of the Bundestag and to send them to the members of parliament.

"The plaintiff deputies have not even filed an urgent application with the court. Mr. Lammert seems to be concerned exclusively with delaying the obligation to publish," writes Dagmar Schroder of Transparency International. The joint press release from Campact, Transparency International and LobbyControl continues:

Particularly piquant: In response to a question from LobbyControl, the Bundestag administration has confirmed that all information on the secondary activities of members of parliament is to remain under lock and key. This also applies to the publication of positions on boards of directors, supervisory boards, associations or foundations, which is not affected by the pending lawsuit. "The action of Mr. Lammert means a step backwards in transparency, although an extension was decided by the Bundestag – a grotesque process", criticizes Ulrich Muller of LobbyControl.

This makes it clear that what is at stake here is not the legal security of a few MPs, but a concerted effort by a few MPs to make the disclosure practice that has just been passed by the Bundestag disappear again as soon as possible.

The behavior of Mr. Lammert and the six deputies becomes completely incomprehensible, if one considers that the Bundestag ensured not so long ago that the accounts of all citizens can be examined by the tax office, the banking secrecy was thus quietly abolished. In addition, last year the Bundestag just decided that the boards of directors of large public companies must disclose all their emoluments in order to prevent corruption in the economy. And now members of parliament do not even want to account for the level of their own extra income? That is laughable.

So it is not really surprising that in 2002, according to a survey by the Perspektive Deutschland working group, German trust in politicians had already reached almost zero:

Trust in political institutions has reached a dramatic low. The Bundestag and political parties have hardly any support among the population: Only three percent of Germans trust the political parties. 57 percent rate their performance as poor, and 80 percent see an urgent need for improvement. Their demands: more transparency and performance control.

But this is precisely what is made absurd by the renewed advance by Mr. Lammert and his five colleagues and one female colleague. Instead of ensuring more transparency, the old style of haggling and hanky-panky can now be resumed.

The online action platform Campact then also immediately called for an email action against Mr. Lammert’s new move. And the organization Transparency International reports that in three days already more than 2000 people have participated in the joint campaign.

The constitutional lawyer von Armin even ames that Mr. Lammert’s delaying tactics are an open invitation to break the law:

The decision of the President of the Bundestag, Mr. Lammert, not to publish for the time being information about the additional income of the members of the Bundestag is an announcement of an open breach of the law. ยง 44a of the parliamentary law as well as the rules of conduct for members of the Bundestag require compellingly the publication of the data. The Bundestagsprasident is not authorized to suspend the application of the law. That could at most the Federal Constitutional Court.

One wonders what Mr. Lammert and his five colleagues and one female colleague have to hide? And for whom do these ladies and gentlemen actually work, for their voters??

But perhaps it is best to ask the members of parliament themselves. In addition to Mr. Lammert (CDU), the members are Sybille Laurischk (FDP), Heinrich Kolb (FDP), Hans-Joachim Otto (FDP), Peter Danckert (SPD), Friedrich Merz (CDU) and Max Straubinger (CSU). You can reach them via the website of the Bundestag. Further information can also be found there, such as the export regulations for the publication of supplementary income ied by Lammert and the rules of conduct adopted for members of the German Bundestag.

Perhaps the current controversy over the obligation to publish additional income should be used to further emphasize the demand for transparency. Because it is not enough to know how much a member of parliament earns, you also have to know where the money comes from.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *