Corporate influence on legislative and executive is dangerous for the freedom of a society. This problem is acute in many countries and some societies are very aware of this problem of theirs.
This recent example from the UK is an interesting and disgusting reminder.
The discussion is on a minimal level in Germany. We had some critical voices about the presence of top bankers in meetings about how to react to the financial crisis, we had a small scandal about external lawyers writing bills and being confident enough to use their own letter head and the influence on lobbyists is as well known as the proximity between many CEOs and top politicians.
Nevertheless, the topic of improper corporate influence on policy is not a big or persistent one in Germany.
The problem is in fact not so much their influence as the lack of a counter influence. The asymmetry is the problem.
The ministry bureaucracies don't have enough expertise to do their job alone - they depend on information input from lobbyists, corporations and NGOs. These bureaucracies would become even costlier, larger and slower if they had to do allr esearch on their own - and even then they would at some point need to ask others for information (which would be filtered, of course).
It's a systematic design fault that modern states aren't able to keep a proper balance. It's probably not humanly possible at all.
Well, there's a problem - a serious one. We should begin to understand it and to understand it as a challenge. More transparacy would be a possible approach. Maybe we should enforce that all outside contacts of politicians and bureaucrats need to be logged. Even a scaled-down version of such a requirement would would produce a huge amount of data - and we would need trustworthy journalists and/or NGOs to analyze this data.
Another possibility is to set new rules and to enforce them - if necessary with serious sanctions. A bureaucrat who copies a corporate proposal into a bill deserves to be fired as a principle, for example. Politicians need more protection - it should suffice to expose their action to the public.
There are likely dozens if not hundreds of promising proposals for how to meet this challenge - we merely need to pick them up.
The point is: We need to recognize asymmetric exogenous influences on legislative and executive as a problem and as likely causes for serious societal problems. We need to meet this challenge and strive for a reduction of the problem.
Corporate interest influence on legislation is a relative of foreign rule. It's a problem that severs our sovereignty and liberty.
The people are the sovereign in Germany. The government shall serve them, not corporate or other organised special interests.