Sun, May 22, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Presidential Office alleged to be housing campaign HQ

By Peng Hsien-chun and Wang Yu-chung  /  Staff Reporters

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), seeking re-election, earlier this month named his campaign headquarters “Taiwan Cheers, Great!” (台灣加油, 讚!). However, sources allege that with the campaign headquarters still not fully operational, Ma’s campaign personnel have been working in the Presidential Office, prompting questions public property usage for personal use.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on April 27 announced Ma’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate. When it was announced on May 4 that former KMT secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) would lead Ma’s re-election campaign and that former presidential office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) would head its news media, social networking and youth team, the KMT added that Ma would launch his campaign office by the end of this month.

According to sources, Lo currently “works” inside the Presidential Office every day. While it is unclear exactly what Lo is working on, it is likely they are matters relating to Ma’s campaign, the sources said.

The sources also alleged that the two new campaign spokesmen who the KMT introduced to the public on May 4 also “attended meetings” at the Presidential Office that very morning.

Other Presidential Office staff are aware of the “new colleagues” shuttling in and out of the building and, although they find it strange that the Presidential Office has seemingly become a campaign headquarters, they have found it inconvenient to comment on the situation, the sources claimed.

Sources said on March 25 and March 27, Lo, in his capacity as then-Presidential Office spokesman, invited netizens on Ma’s Facebook page to a gathering on the first floor of the Presidential Office.

The source claimed that the invitees were not Ma’s Facebook friends, but rather Lo’s personal friends, alleging that Presidential Office personnel complained that Lo was conflating his personal and vocational affairs.

When reached for response to the allegations, Presidential Office spokesman Fang Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基), who took over the post from Lo on May 4, said that “the Presidential Office periodically invited people to exchange opinions on issues that related to national governance and current events.”

The Presidential Office added that as the anonymous sources made the allegations without citing actual times and settings, the Presidential Office was at a loss as to where to start explaining.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday lambasted the Presidential Office’s alleged action as a violation of the Civil Service Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員行政中立法).

DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said that since Taiwanese society has thoroughly democratized, people should know what can and cannot be done, criticizing the Presidential Office for setting a bad example of not distinguishing between party and state.

TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER.

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