The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

More transparency on supplementary income

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 20 October 2023

Members of the federal parliament should have to disclose income from secondary activities. This is the view of the State Policy Commission of the Council of States (SPK-S). It supports a corresponding proposal by Lisa Mazzone (Greens/GE).

More transparency on supplementary income
(Source: X)

The SPK-S followed the parliamentary initiative with 7 to 4 votes, as the parliamentary services announced on Friday. Mazzone demands that council members must declare for each secondary activity in which range the compensation received for it falls. The ranges are intended to ensure some confidentiality.

Mazzone proposes that council members must disclose whether annual income is below 6,000 francs, respectively, between 6,000 and 12,000 francs, between 12,001 and 50,000 francs, between 50,001 and 100,000 francs, between 100,001 and 200,000 francs or above.

Main income not affected

According to an expert opinion of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), it would be absolutely permissible under constitutional law to create transparency in the compensation for secondary activities of council members, Mazzone justifies her motion. Income from full-time activities does not have to be disclosed.

The majority of the SPK-S is of the opinion that this additional transparency would strengthen the public’s trust in parliament, the statement said. If the public were given this insight, it would strengthen trust in parliament.

The Commission minority, on the other hand, does not consider the increased transparency to be compatible with the principle of a militia parliament. Members of the Council are expected to carry out a professional activity and take on mandates in addition to their political commitment.

In order for the Council of States commission to draft a bill, the National Council’s sister commission must give the green light.

Second demand goes too far

The demand of National Councilor Lorenzo Quadri (Lega/TI) goes too far for the SPC-S. He wants transparency on the income of council members for positions on the board of directors or in the management of health insurance companies. The SPK-S rejected the corresponding parliamentary initiative by 9 votes to 0 with 2 abstentions.

It is now up to the Council of States to decide. If it also says no, the initiative is off the table. The National Council approved the initiative last March by 106 votes to 69 with 14 abstentions. In addition to the SP and the Greens, numerous members of the SVP parliamentary group, of which Quadri is a member, voted in favor of the initiative.

©Keystone/SDA

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