No one disputes that the fresh-faced Amthor made a big error when he decided to lobby the government to support the IT firm Augustus Intelligence while at the same time going on business trips at the company’s expense.
“Philipp Amthor made a political mistake,” his CDU colleague Michael Grosse-Brömer told a local newspaper over thwe weekend.
But Grosse-Brömer said that Amthor had “recognised his mistake and quickly apologised. I think that was correct and appropriate.”
Whether an apology will be enough is another matter.
The Bundestag will now look into whether Amthor hid his association with Augustus Intelligence when he lobbied the Economy ministry to back them. Such an action could lead to legal consequences.
Political opponents have already started sharpening their knives for Amthor, who is widely recognised as a prodigious political talent. At 27 years of age he is one of the youngest people ever to have entered the Bundestag.
“If Philipp Amthor is the future of the CDU, then good-bye conservatism,” joked Jan Korte, a leading figure in the Left Party.
The Lefty party are calling the scandal “Amthor-gate” and are demanding that he give up his seat in the Bundestag.
It’s not just political opponents who smell a rat.
“I think he has made a serious error of judgement,” said Timo Lange of NGO LobbyControl. “He used his position as an MP to open doors to the Economy Ministry. He was personally present at two meetings and received financial advantage from the company. At the very least that poses some questions.”
The scandal has already cost Amthor just when his career seemed to be taking off.
He has agreed to call off his run for leader of the party in his home state of Mecklenburg-Pomerania and has resigned from a parliamentary committee on terrorism.
A Roman Catholic who has voiced his opinions against gay marriage and “gender mainstreaming”, he was seen in the party as a bulwark against the AfD in the conservative east.
In 2019 the Financial Times described him as a “rising star of the CDU.” Not shy of appearing in front of a camera, Amthor is a regular on political talk shows.
So, is his career over before he has reached his 30th birthday? Not everyone is writing him off just yet.
“My own opinion is that we need to give such a young man another chance,” Eckhardt Rehberg, another CDU collague, told broadcaster ARD.