Wednesday, January 19

More clutter in the Storting: Central commuter documents are gone

Once a year, politicians must fill out a form to keep the commuter home. But the Storting does not publish the president’s forms. Ropstad’s forms have been deleted.

Director of the Storting Marianne Andreassen.

It has been revealed this autumn that several Storting politicians have received free commuter housing as a result of inadequate or incorrect reporting to the Storting’s administration. The police have now opened an investigation into the cases.

But the administration does not release more key documents on politicians’ commuter housing issues.

President of the Storting Eva Kristin Hansen (Labor Party) was granted commuter housing because she stated to the Storting that she was registered in a dormitory in Trondheim. She must resign on Thursday after the revelation that she had a home she owned with her husband on Ski for three years.

Kjell Ingolf Ropstad also had to resign as minister and party leader in KrF after revelations about his commuter home. He maintained a population register address with his parents in Sørlandet and thus got the state to pay for an apartment for him and his family in Oslo.

The Storting’s regulations state that all representatives must report on their housing conditions once a year.

However, the administration has problems presenting more of these documents.

Does not provide access to commuter documents

In the forms, the politicians answer, among other things, whether they commute to a home other than the one in their hometown. The forms from the President of the Storting will thus show whether she has stated that she commuted to the semi-detached house in Ski or not.

The form also states:

“If there are changes in living conditions at the place of residence or in Oslo, you are obliged to submit the form again.”

Aftenposten has several times in the last week called for Eva Kristin Hansen’s commuter forms for 2015, 2016 and 2017, but has not received a response.

This is despite the fact that the Storting’s administration has searched the archives for all relevant facts about Hansen’s case. They did so on Monday last week, according to a statement Hansen recently sent to the Storting:

– Then all possible efforts were set in motion to get to the bottom of the realities of the case. They meant in particular to search through the archives to find facts in the case, Hansen wrote.

Does not answer questions

It is not only this request for access that the Storting administration does not respond to. The Director of the Storting also fails to answer these questions:

  • Did you find Hansen’s annual reporting forms about commuter housing?
  • Are the documents available?
  • Why do not you give insight?

Aftenposten has asked Storting President Eva Kristin Hansen to present the documents, but has not received a response.

Her defender Jon Christian Elden states that he has also requested these documents. Nor has he received an answer from the Storting.

Deleted Ropstad documents

Kjell Ingolf Ropstad had to resign as party leader and minister earlier this autumn. Several of the documents about his commuter home have disappeared.

  • “The application has been deleted”, the Storting writes about two of Ropstad’s commuter housing applications. This is said to have happened in connection with the transition to a new case processing system several years ago.
  • The annual reporting forms in which he reports on his housing conditions have also disappeared. “We do not find annual reporting forms from Ropstad 2009–2018 in our archive,” the Storting states.

They are not subject to the Archives Act. The National Archives therefore has no authority to inspect the Storting’s document archive.

Aftenposten has asked the Storting’s administration how they explain that several key documents about commuter homes have either been deleted or can not be handed out at the request of the press, but have not received an answer.

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