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Section 13 Rights and obligations

(1) The Federal Commissioner shall refrain from any action incompatible with his or her duties and shall not, during his or her term of office, engage in any incompatible occupation, whether gainful or not. In particular, the Federal Commissioner shall not hold any other paid office or pursue any commercial activity or occupation in addition to his or her official duties and shall not belong to the management or supervisory board of a profit-oriented enterprise, nor to a government or legislative body of the Federation or a Land. The Federal Commissioner shall not deliver extra-judicial opinions in exchange for payment.

(2) The Federal Commissioner shall inform the President of the Bundestag of any gifts received in connection with his or her office. The President of the Bundestag shall decide how such gifts shall be used. He or she may issue procedural rules and regulations.

(3) The Federal Commissioner shall have the right to refuse to give testimony concerning persons who have confided in him or her in his or her capacity as Federal Commissioner and concerning the information confided. This shall also apply to the staff of the Federal Commissioner, on the condition that the Federal Commissioner decides on the exercise of this right. Within the scope of the Federal Commissioner’s right of refusal to give testimony, he or she shall not be required to submit or surrender files or other documents.

(4) Even after his or her official relationship has ended, the Federal Commissioner shall be obligated to secrecy concerning matters of which he or she is aware by reason of his or her official duties. This obligation shall not apply to official communications or to matters which are common knowledge or which by their nature do not require confidentiality. The Federal Commissioner shall decide at his or her due discretion whether and to what extent he or she will testify in or outside court or make statements concerning such matters; if he or she is no longer in office, the permission of the Federal Commissioner in office shall be required. This shall not affect the legal obligation to report crimes and to uphold the free and democratic order wherever it is threatened. Sections 93, 97, 105 (1), Section 111 (5) in conjunction with Section 105 (1) and Section 116 (1) of the German Fiscal Code shall not apply to the Federal Commissioner or his or her staff. The fifth sentence shall not apply where the financial authorities require such knowledge in order to conduct legal proceedings due to a tax offence and related tax proceedings, in the prosecution of which there is compelling public interest, or where the person required to provide information or persons acting on his or her behalf have intentionally provided false information. If the Federal Commissioner determines that data protection provisions have been violated, he or she shall be authorized to report the violation and inform the data subject accordingly.

(5) The Federal Commissioner may testify as a witness unless such testimony would

  1. be detrimental to the welfare of the Federation or a Land, in particular to the security of the Federal Republic of Germany or its relations with other countries, or
  2. would violate fundamental rights.

If the testimony concerns ongoing or completed processes which are or could be considered core aspects of executive responsibility, the Federal Commissioner may testify only with the approval of the Federal Government. Section 28 of the Federal Constitutional Court Act shall remain unaffected.

(6) Subsections 3 and 4, fifth to seventh sentences, shall apply accordingly to the public bodies responsible for monitoring compliance with the data protection provisions in the Länder.