“No, Helmut Brandstätter will no longer be there,” the eXXpress heard from a NEOS insider. Helmut Brandstätter, who has docked with NEOS since July 2019, should no longer be allowed to ask questions to the upcoming committee of inquiry against possible corruption involvement of the ÖVP and certain print media. The former, rather hapless Kurier editor-in-chief left a direct request from eXXpress unanswered, although he should have known from his experience how to communicate with the media.
“Too much could have happened,” said a well-known member of NEOS about the decision that has now been made. Officially, the language rule for the pink ones would be as follows: Brandstätter was “now somewhat taken out of the line of fire” by NEOS boss Beate Meinl-Reisinger. For the parliamentarian who is not really shy about the public, this dismissal is nevertheless a huge defeat.
The fact that Helmut Brandstätter does not appear in the upcoming investigative committee could have been a wise decision by Beate Meinl-Reisinger. For two reasons: Firstly, the Public Prosecutor for Economic Affairs and Corruption (WKStA) is now examining a comprehensive criminal complaint against a former OMV chairman as well as against ORF editor Patricia Pawlicki, Brandstätter’s wife, and against the NEOS MP himself. It works About extremely high consultant fees, which are said to have flowed to Pawlicki over the years from the state-owned fuel company.
Irritating: While the WKStA decides on investigations for other reports within a few hours, the public prosecutor’s office has been checking for four months (!) Whether they want to start investigations in this case. What hopefully has nothing to do with the lengthy examination period, but should not be forgotten: The Green Justice Minister Alma Zadic is authorized to give instructions to the WKStA.
The second reason for the Brandstätters “U-Committee ban” could be his behavior: In May of this year, the NEOS politician mobbed an ÖVP MP after a TV talk and called him an “A… hole” in front of witnesses. He also yelled on the phone with the eXXpress editor-in-chief and threatened with “war” when the latter tried to ask him questions about the case of the high OMV fees.
One situation would be fatal for the NEOS, who are concerned about their clean image: If the WKStA did initiate investigations against Helmut Brandstätter and the MP would ask ÖVP politicians or media entrepreneurs questions about possible corruption offenses in a U-Committee.