Record number of integrity issues at political parties last year, most at CDA
Political parties in the Netherlands had a record year for integrity issues last year, with 75 cases recorded. That is significantly higher than the around 50 issues on the political integrity index over the past years, Follow the Money reported. For the third year in a row, the CDA was the party with the most integrity issues.
Last year had a lot of attention for transgressive behavior following sexual misconduct scandals at The Voice of Holland and Ajax, among others. That also spilled over into politics, with 19 integrity affairs related to transgressive behavior. They included high-profile integrity affairs involving Tweede Kamer president Khadija Arib, Volt parliamentarian Nilüfer Gündoğan, and PvdA MP Gijks van Dijk.
Conflicts of interest also got a lot of attention last year. “Incompatible functions” was the largest category in the integrity issues registered, with 32 affairs. One such was European Commissioner Neelie Kroes secretly lobbying Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte for Uber. PVV MP Roel van Bijnen voted on the future of Maastricht Aachen Airport while he worked there as a senior officer for the Koninklijke Marechaussee. And various local politicians voted on the nitrogen policy while they had active interests in agriculture.
Various local politicians for the CDA were guilty of that last integrity violation, helping the Christian Democrat party to the top position for integrity issues. There was also a motley of other problems within the party.
The municipality of Teylingen filed a report against then-CDA council member Joep Derksen (now a member of Partij voor Teylingen) because he applied for a driver’s license after the French police confiscated his for speeding. CDA mayor Mark Slinkman of Berg en Dal got a complaint filed against him for calling a council member an “asshole.”
The most prominent CDA issue last year involved Hugo de Jonge, who, as Minister of Public Health, helped his fellow party member Sywert van Lienden get a government contract in the now infamous face mask scandal.
The FvD also struggled with many integrity issues last year, including that members Thierry Baudet, Gideon van Meijeren, and Freek Jansen refused to register their additional positions and incomes, as they are obliged to do as MPs. Van Meijeren also had to appear in court because he was caught running a red light after his driver’s license was confiscated. The authorities are also investigating him for statements about violent revolution.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is also on the political integrity index for 2022 because of his “real-time archiving.” In May last year, the Volkskrant revealed that the Prime Minister had been deleting his text messages daily for years, violating the Archives Act. Rutte claimed he had to delete messages because his old Nokia filled up quickly.