Sun, Feb 08, 2009 - Page 1 News List

KMT apologizes for Lee controversy

REGRETDespite calls that Diane Lee be forced to return the salary she drew from 1991 until 2005, the Taipei City Council said only a Cabinet order could make that happen

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday offered an apology after former KMT legislator Diane Lee’s (李慶安) elected status was revoked over her US citizenship.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) revoked Lee’s elected status as both Taipei City councilor and legislator on Friday night after the US Department of State on Thursday confirmed that Lee’s US citizenship was still valid.

Wu yesterday expressed his party’s regret over the matter, but added that the KMT had made no attempt to cover it up or delay the investigation.

“The KMT did not try to cover up her mistakes or delay the process on her behalf … Lee was a party member and we are sorry about what happened,” Wu said after attending a lunch party hosted by the party’s Taipei branch.

The KMT had persuaded Lee to resign as a legislator if she could not provide solid evidence disproving accusations that she had dual citizenship and made inquiries with the US about her status, Wu said.

The party was also scheduled to hold an evaluation and discipline committee to discuss Lee’s case before she announced she was leaving the party in December, he said, adding that the KMT had already asked the Legislative Yuan to handle the case according to the Nationality Act (國籍法).

Lee resigned as a legislator on Jan. 8, but failed to show any document supporting her claim that she had lost her US citizenship automatically when she was elected Taipei City councilor in 1994.

In response to a request by the Democratic Progressive Party that the legislature and the Taipei City Council recover the salary Lee earned between 1991 and 2005, Wu Bi-chu (吳碧珠), chairwoman of the council, said yesterday that it would not take the initiative to do so.

Lee served as a Taipei City councilor for one term from 1994 to 1998, after which she was elected as a legislator.

Wu said the council would follow administrative procedures and recover Lee’s salary if the Executive Yuan gave the order.

Council secretary-general Wang King-de (王金德) said the council had only handled a similar matter once before, when New Party councilor Tim Chang (常中天) was found to have charged research fees when serving in the military.

Wang said that as Lee was no longer a councilor, the decision to recover her salary would be made by the CEC or the Executive Yuan.

Cabinet spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday declined to comment on whether the Cabinet would take such action.

The Cabinet’s Appeal Review Committee will handle Lee’s appeal according to the law, he said, referring to comments by Lee’s lawyer, Lee Yung-ran (李永然), who protested the CEC’s decision and said Diane Lee would appeal to the Cabinet.

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