Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

The deputies should report their meetings with lobbyists

Los diputados deberán informar de sus reuniones con lobbistas

The Congress has since yesterday a new code of conduct for the deputies that will force them to inform through the portal transparency of the meetings that they maintain in the dependencies of the Parliament with lobbyists, as well as making public the gifts or donations they receive, including, for example, tickets to watch football. Or stage invitations.

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The new catalog of transparency requirements for the deputies, which homologates Spanish parliamentary democracy with what is already a veteran consensus of the main Western European countries, was approved, at the request of the president of the Congress, Ana Pastor, in the House Board on February 28, and it came into force yesterday with its publication in the Diario de las Cortes Generales.

Parliamentarians must give an account of their previous work, in addition to publicizing their heritage

Pastor was committed to implement the recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption - a body of the Council of Europe - before the end of the current legislature, and the new code integrates the main guidelines for improving the transparency of the activity of parliamentarians, starting by informing - in addition to publicizing the patrimony, as already established by the norm - of their activities prior to performance as deputies, including the sector of activity to which they had dedicated themselves and the name of the person or company for which they worked, if they did it for someone else's account.

Each deputy will be obliged to publish his agenda through the transparency portal, and it must include the publicity of the meetings he has had with lobbyists. To clear up doubts, the code establishes a broad definition of the concept of lobbying: "Those natural or legal persons or entities without legal personality that communicate directly or indirectly with holders of public or elected offices or personnel under their charge in favor of interests private, public, private or collective, trying to modify or influence "the legislative work. That is, everyone except family members and the press. In any case, this definition will be subject to a subsequent reform of the Congress regulation, which may adjust in more specific terms what can be considered a lobbyist.

In the same way, they should reject any gift that implies a commitment to their political task and inform all those who accept, whether gifts or donations, in payment or in kind, including invitations to attend cultural or sports events. The code specifies that only "family and friends" gifts are excluded, although this last category introduces an arbitrary element in the code.

As for the electoral observation missions to other countries, they must be expressly authorized by the Congress Bureau and they can not receive any kind of gratification.

For the resolution of conflicts of interest in those matters in which it is understood that the independence of a deputy is compromised, a specific office will be created that will issue annual reports on the degree of compliance with the code. The Bureau will be responsible for deciding, where appropriate, the sanctions.

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