Klaustur scandal does fall under ethics rules

27.03.2019 - 09:57
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An advisory ruling from the ethics committee of Alþingi, Iceland's parliament, requested by the Alþingi speaker’s committee (forsætisnefnd) to look into the facts of the Klaustur scandal, has concluded that the discussions and behaviour of the six MPs caught in the now-famous recording do fall under the jurisdiction of Alþingi’s ethics code. One committee member submitted an independent assessment, but was mostly in agreement with colleagues.

MPs Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir and Haraldur Benediktsson were appointed special deputy presidents of Alþingi specifically for the Klaustur investigation, because all other members of the speaker’s committee had declared themselves unfit after having publicly stated opinions on the case. Steinunn and Haraldur called upon the ethics committee for an advisory ruling on whether or not parliament’s ethics code applies to the events that took place at Klaustur, which is a public bar and not on the Alþingi campus. 

The advisory ruling was made public last night and says that MPs are public personalities and their behaviour took place in a public place and was connected to issues that were topical in public discourse. “As far as the behaviour concerns the public, the events under discussion here cannot be viewed as a private conversation.” The ruling adds that the committee has not been asked to declare whether ethics rules were broken; only whether or not they apply in this case.