The Greens criticize Scholz for the lack of answers to the tax concept

Olaf Scholz at an election campaign appearance in Mannheim

The SPD chancellor candidate presented key data for his tax concept in the summer. Did the calculations for this come from the ministry?

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The Greens accuse SPD Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz of deliberately delaying answering critical questions about the development of a tax concept in the Federal Ministry of Finance. Scholz wanted to “just sit out the matter and postpone answers until after election day,” said the financial policy spokeswoman for the Greens, Lisa Paus.

“Olaf Scholz’s answering practice has become a scandal within a scandal,” said Paus. It is now clear that Scholz’s approach is systematic. “I had to experience that at Wirecard, in the cum-ex scandal and now again when working out the SPD tax concept,” said the Green politician.

In June, the management staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance commissioned a specialist department to run through a tax reform with certain income limits. The specialist department also engaged a publicly financed institute that made calculations. Corresponding information from the “Spiegel” was confirmed to the Handelsblatt at the time.

It is piquant that the SPD chancellor candidate advertised himself and his planned tax reform in an interview two weeks later. In addition, Scholz also named the income limits and reliefs that were involved in the calculations. Since then, there has been a suspicion that Scholz is using his ministry for work that he uses in the election campaign.

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The ministry has rejected the charge: Such calculations are common for a minister. However, the question of what Scholz needed it for at this point remained unanswered. A tax reform was no longer possible.

Opposition wants clarification

The opposition demands clarification. At the end of July, the Green politician Paus made a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (IFG). Please “with reference to the special public interest in connection with a possible violation of the political parties law” for access to all official information in connection with the calculations.

Paus is still waiting for the information. In two further letters in mid and late August, she asked for a “prompt reply” and called on the Federal Ministry of Finance to “strictly adhere to the deadlines for answering and to refrain from any further delays”.

Now the financial politician of the Greens has turned directly to the Federal Minister of Finance Scholz. Paus wrote in a letter of complaint to Scholz that she was “sorry” to note that the ministry was not able to make a final decision on the surrender of the documents even after the one-month period had expired.

Paus does not consider the reason that further coordination processes with third parties are needed, as she informs Scholz. “Overall, the previous response practice of the Federal Ministry of Finance gives the impression that there are not factual reasons for the delay in answering, but other political considerations in order to deliberately postpone the publication of the documents until after the federal election,” she writes.

No concrete tax law

This is particularly annoying because it is a process that is of particular interest to the public. “After all, there is a suspicion of a violation of the political party law and the misuse of taxpayers’ money,” Paus continued in the letter.

As a candidate for chancellor, it should also be in his interest, writes Paus to Scholz, “to expressly counteract this impression by immediately creating complete transparency in the matter”. She demands a response from the Federal Ministry of Finance no later than September 22nd – four days before the federal election.

Otherwise, an SPD tax plan should no longer play a role before the election. In the past few weeks, people have repeatedly discussed whether to present a specific concept in the election campaign, according to the SPD. But they decided against it.

More: Order with flavor: Scholz had the Federal Ministry of Finance do calculations for tax reform