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This is how Scholz and Co. prevent scandals from being cleared up

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is still following a process from his time as Federal Minister of Finance.

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This is how Scholz and Co. prevent scandals from being cleared up

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is still following a process from his time as Federal Minister of Finance. At that time he played an important role in the Cum-Ex scandal, one of the major economic scandals in German history. However, it is no longer possible to clarify exactly what responsibility Scholz has for the fact that banks and financial advisors were able to illegally enrich themselves for years.

Because the Federal Ministry of Finance deleted the e-mail box of the then minister after Scholz’s departure. And this despite the fact that the law stipulates that e-mails from ministers and chancellors are contemporary documents that must be kept. Precisely because it sometimes only turns out years later that they may have been involved in sensitive political processes.

Research by this newspaper revealed that not only the Ministry of Finance, but almost all ministries proceed in this way. The interior, transport and health ministries, for example, acknowledged the deletion practice on request. The latter, the department of the then Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), was in the public eye because of his actions during the corona pandemic. The clarification of Spahn's work during this time is still ongoing today.

In some departments, such as the Ministry of the Interior, the minister himself decides which e-mails should be kept after leaving office and which are no longer needed. The President of the Federal Archives, which is actually responsible for the storage, made a correspondingly clear statement. He said there was a risk that "important information might be lost". In other words, anyone who simply deletes contemporary documents hinders democracy.

When it took office, the traffic light coalition pledged to ensure more transparency. She wanted, according to the promise in the coalition agreement, to ensure that in future every citizen can understand the work of politicians in the service of democracy.

Ending the deletion of ministerial emails would be a simple and vitally important first step in making the promise of transparency credible. But so far no one in the coalition has dared to do so. No minister is calling for an end to systematic erasure in order to make government officials' decisions traceable. That is hardly understandable - and takes the self-image of a transparent government from absurdity.

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