Numerous members of the German Bundestag are also listed in the lobby register as functionaries of lobby associations. This is reported by the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” and the transparency initiative parliamentwatch.de.
A total of 28 parliamentarians are active on the board, executive committee or advisory board of interest organizations that have entered the lobby register of the Bundestag. The deputies from the CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and the Greens are involved in lobby groups for the armaments industry, the energy sector and a chamber of commerce. The first systematic evaluation of the lobby register, which was created in early 2022, shows that conflicts of interest arise in some cases from the double function as member of parliament and lobbyist: For example, the SPD member of parliament Martin Gerster is a member of the budget committee of the Bundestag and is also president of the THW federal association, an association that represents the interests of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW). As late as 2018, when Gerster first started as Vice President at the THW Federal Association, the annual THW budget was 544 million euros.
Henning Otte, defense policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group and deputy chairman of the Bundestag Defense Committee, is also the “Vice President for Politics” in the Förderkreis Deutsches Heer (FKH), an association of military personnel, armaments companies and members of parliament that represents the interests of the armaments lobby. The agricultural policy spokesman for the CSU state group in the Bundestag, Artur Auernhammer, is also chairman of the board of the German Bioenergy Association (BBE). Auernhammer has represented his lobbying association at at least 21 events for members of the Bundestag over the past five years. Compared to the “time” the deputies rejected a conflict of interest. The former CSU Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer said he had “never represented the interests of the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry e.V., of which he is President, in the Bundestag”. Ramsauer’s honorary work was remunerated with 154,000 to 336,000 euros in the past legislative period. Mathias Middelberg (CDU) and Carsten Träger (SPD) also receive expense allowances. Artur Auernhammer (CSU) also receives an expense allowance for his work in the BBE. On request, the Bundestag administration announced that only a proportionate expense allowance of “maximum 10 percent of the monthly MP compensation” was provided for voluntary interest groups. If there are indications of violations in individual cases, the Bundestag administration will investigate them.