Lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling party and coalition had to declare by writing that they hadn't received money for consulting or procurement related to the Covid 19 situation, following claims several of them were involved in face mask purchases. Party officials said that all 240 conservative lawmakers had sent back their declaration as requested.
The ultimatum was issued after further revelations emerged in Germany's face mask procurement scandal, causing more embarrassment ahead of regional votes on Sunday.
The scandal made headlines this week when Christian Democrat (CDU) lawmaker Nikolas Löbel quit his seat. His colleague Georg Nüsslein from the Bavarian sister party CSU had earlier stepped down. Both faced accusations that they had received payments for brokering face mask procurement deals.
Nüslein was last month placed under investigation for corruption after it was alleged that he accepted some €600,000 to lobby for a mask supplier.
Löbel's company made €250,000 in commissions for acting as an intermediary in mask contracts. A third lawmaker, Mark Hauptmann, gave up his seat on Thursday — partly in connection with the mask scandal.
Florian Toncar of the liberal business-friendly FDP said the issue posed a moral hazard for the entire Parliament.
You cannot call them individual cases anymore, as in that short period of time so many cases have emerged. And I mean, the party leadership of the conservatives is not yet clear whether the list is already completed or whether further cases will emerge.
The allegations that lawmakers profited from a crisis triggered widespread outrage amid frustration and weariness over Germany's extended lockdown.
The ruling CDU/CSU alliance, which is also facing criticism over the slow rollout of the vaccine program, sought to clean house ahead of Sunday votes in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.
Senior CDU lawmaker Gitta Connemann said the alliance was facing its biggest crisis since a 1990s slush-fund controversy that badly dented the reputation of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.