President of Germany's Bundestag Norbert Lammert has called for checks on MPs office expenses in light of a scandal dating back to 2009. Several MPs reportedly spent tens of thouands on luxury stationery from Montblanc.
German newspaper "Bild" first reported at the end of 2009 that 116 members of the German parliament had ordered premium Montblanc writing materials worth a total of 70,000 euros ($79,000) in the first nine months of that year.
The costs, which are accounted for in the MPs' annual 12,000-euros budget to equip their parliamentary offices, are met by the taxpayer and covers everything from pens and paper to cell phones and laptops.
For seven years, however, President of the Bundestag - Germany's lower house of parliament - Norbert Lammert, refused to release the names of the parliamentary spendthrifts. The Christian Democrat (CDU), as well as a number of other former and current MPs from all factions, have faced huge criticism for ordering the expensive office materials at the expense of the Bundestag .
Seven-year battle over names
On Wednesday, however, the names of the MPs responsible for buying the luxury stationary were released.
The highest recorded order was by former chancellery minister and CDU General Secretary Ronald Pofalla. In 2009, Pofalla reportedly bought Montblanc products worth 3307,61 euros.
Coming close behind in second place was the left-politician Diana Golze who today holds office as Social Minister in Brandenburg. She spent a reported 2891,97 euros. Deputies from the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens also appeared in the list.
Lammert himself also acknowledged last week that in 2009, a fountain pen worth 169.65 euro was ordered in his office. "I have to take the flack, even if I didn't order it personally," Lammert told German paper "Saarbrücker Zeitung.
"Bild" also reported that between 2006 and 2009, a further eight pens worth a total of 1,350 were ordered by Lammert's office.
Lammert's spokesperson was unable to provide any more information, however, as documents are routinely discarded after five years.
Tighter controls on spending
In light of the reports, Lammert said he wants the rules for the procurement of MPs office supplies to be checked in Germany's Parliamentary Council of Elders after summer recess.
"There is an opportunity to think about further changes to the current regulations for ordering office supplies," Lammert said on Wednesday.
In addition, MPs would tighten controls on what materials will be ordered by their employees, Lammert said. Parliamentarians have no longer been able to buy Mont Blanc products since 2010. A lawsuit into the scandal is currently pending.