Johan Van Overtveldt (N-VA), federal minister of finance, has the most outside posts of any federal minister, according to the latest report for 2017 by the watchdog Cumuleo, which gathers information on politicians’ paid and unpaid work outside of their principal function. However Van Overtveldt only had two paid jobs: federal minister and lecturer at the university of Hasselt. When it comes to paid jobs on the side, he is easily outstripped by foreign minister Didier Reynders (MR) and foreign trade minister Pieter De Crem (CD&V)
French-speaking representatives have more posts on average (7.56) than their Dutch-speaking colleagues (6.66). However then it comes to only paid posts, the difference virtually disappears (3.57 compared to 3.51). The cleanest hands in the government belong to Kris Peeters (CD&V), minister for consumer affairs, who has only one job – the one the taxpayers pay him to do.
When it comes to jobs on the side, the national champion is Evere councilwoman Eliane Daels (PS) who has 31, of which no fewer than 29 are remunerated. N-VA councilman Koen Kennis takes the Flemish title, but can still only manage 18 paid jobs out of 36 in total, put to shame by Max Munis in the tiny municipality in the German-speaking cantons of Kelmis, where he has 23 paid jobs, presumably leaving none for anyone else.
French-speaking parties take up four of the top five places, led by the PS with 8.13 a representative, followed by MR, sp.a, cdh and Défi, with Flemish parties Ecolo and Groen bringing up the rear. When it comes to paid posts, however, N-VA is in last place with an average of 3.11 compared to sp.a on 3.75.
Considered on the level of governments, the Flemish regional government has the cleanest hands, with 5.1 posts compared to 7.33 for the federal government. Counting paid appointments only, however, the best behaved at the minister of the German-speaking community, with 1.52 compared to the federal government’s 2.83.
Surprisingly, when it comes to a more local level, provincial deputies, who most people would fail to recognise in the street, are by far the most employed, for paid posts, unpaid posts and all posts considered. While mayors and councillors together can barely scrape together 20.56 posts between them, deputies can count 2,058 by themselves. They are left behind slightly by mayors and councillors when it comes to paid posts, however, with the dignitaries opening supermarkets and new car-washes at a rate of 7.25, compared to provincial deputies’ 5.8.
Politicians at all levels are obliged by law each year to state every source of income, as well as unpaid posts they hold. This year, 145 failed to do so, an increase of 21 on last year; 72 failed to give a report of their assets, 24 more than last year (some individuals may have done both).
Among those having failed to do both was Pascale Peraïta, formerly head of the homeless service Samusocial in Brussels, who was found to have collected fees for meetings that never took place, together with disgraced mayor Yvan Mayeur (PS). Neither is still in place.
The Brussels Times