The chairman of the ÖVP corruption investigation committee, Wolfgang Sobotka, is said to have exceeded or abused his powers. At least that’s what the SPÖ, FPÖ and Neos think, who therefore jointly submitted and supported an application for exclusion on Thursday, as the SPÖ says. However, the ÖVP and the Greens voted against it, so the motion did not find a majority.
Sobotka is said to have “submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court regarding an open difference of opinion between the Federal Minister of Justice and the investigative committee regarding the questioning of MMag. Thomas Schmid without the knowledge of the factions represented in the committee”. In doing so, he acted contrary to the rules of procedure for parliamentary committees of inquiry. These provisions provide that the chairman must, if possible, reach agreement with the parliamentary groups on all procedural questions and must give the parliamentary groups the opportunity to participate.
Contrary to the majority decision
Specifically, it is about the fact that Sobotka on 18 November 2022 as “Chairman of the Investigative Committee 4/US XXVII.GP” to the Constitutional Court. This input I am in contradiction with the content of the opinion on the same matter, which was decided by the majority of the committee of inquiry on November 9, 2022. According to the application, he thereby exceeded his authority to represent the committee externally.
The rules of procedure also provided that the presiding judge was to consult with the trial judge on procedural questions and to take due account of his legal opinion in making his decisions. The trial judge was also not consulted. And, further in the application: “The actions taken by Mag. Sobotka weigh all the more heavily since Mag. Sobotka himself is directly affected by the facts of the case (interrogation of MMag. Schmid).”