Stricter lobbying rules for former members of directors, should avoid a conflict of interest

There will be stricter rules for (former) restrainers who want to accept a new job. This in order to prevent a conflict of interest and unwanted lobbying activities, demissionary minister Ollongren writes to the House of Representatives. The cabinet comes with the extension of the rules at the urging of the House.

The discussion about improper influence and conflict of interest following a political career flared recently after Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, former Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, switched to business. She is now chairman of the industry association of energy companies.

When tightening the rules, the cabinet included the recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe (GRECO).

Cooldown

For example, a former minister or secretary of state will no longer only be banned from lobbying in the field where he or she was administratively active, but is no longer allowed to do so in related policy areas with which the person had active interference.

In

fact, in practice, administrative persons are also active in areas that formally fall under another department. Joining a lobby organization is still allowed, but lobbying contacts with its own ministry or a ministry that adjoins it no longer.

Furthermore, former cabinet members may not be employed as civil servants with their former ministry or accept commercial orders from them for two years. A position in an advisory committee remains possible. There will also be a ‘cooldown ‘period for former officials: they will now have to ask an independent committee for advice on the admissibility of their new job.

The extension of the lobby ban to related policy areas is immediately effective, says Ollongren in her letter. For the other tightening, the law must be amended.