Corporate Europe Observatory has today taken several new steps to increase the pressure on Barroso and OLAF to clear the smoke:
- CEO has submitted a complaint to the Transparency Register secretariat against Swedish Match for violating the EU's Code of Conduct for lobbyists. The complaint includes Swedish Match's unethical lobbying (going to Malta to find Dalli's personal contacts, who could enable the company to access the Commissioner, and hiring unregistered lobbyists in the process) as well as the fact that the company has lied to MEPs about Dalligate.
- CEO has submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman against OLAF for its secrecy around Dalligate, specifically for rejecting access to the investigation report on the Dalli case. CEO had requested (partial) access to the report on the basis of the EU's freedom of information law, but OLAF rejected this with a series of unconvincing arguments, including that there is no overriding public interest in the disclosure of the report.
- CEO has submitted several new freedom of information requests, including two requests aimed at uncovering more about Swedish Match lobbyists who went through the revolving door from the EU institutions. Swedish Match "public affairs director" Johan Gabrielsson is a former European Commission official, and lawyer Gayle Kimberley (hired by Swedish Match to gain access to Mr. Dalli) was previously in the EU Council's legal services department in Brussels. CEO has also submitted a request for all correspondence between the Commission's Secretariat-General and Michel Petite. Mr Petite is the former head of the Commission's legal service turned lawyer for big tobacco, who was recently re-appointed to the Commission's ethical committee - our request aims to find out if Mr Petite played any role in the Commission's handling of Dalligate.
The longer the Commission and OLAF remain silent about what really happened in the Dalligate cash-for-access tobacco lobby scandal, the more damage is being done to public trust in the institutions. Green MEPs have now called for a special committee to be set up, to address the shortcomings in the EU's ethics rules and lobbying regulation that Dalligate has illustrated so clearly. CEO supports this as a crucial step to clearing the smoke around Dalligate and ensuring that scandals like this do not happen in future.