KMT questions DPP vouchers

RUSH TO JUDGEMENT?:KMT lawmakers said that prosecutors should launch a probe and the minister of justice said they would, which the DPP criticized

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - Page 1

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday said it suspected the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) use of “meal vouchers” at fundraisers violates the law and amounted to venality.

DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been holding fundraising dinners around the nation, where donors buy “meal vouchers” priced from thousands of New Taiwan dollars to tens of thousands.

A supporter in Tainan earlier this month showed her voucher to journalists at the event before being grabbed and hustled away by event staff, who asked reporters not to take photographs.

The DPP later apologized for the incident and said it was due to the staff’s nervousness, but KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said she wondered if it showed that something shady was going on.

KMT deputy caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) yesterday said the DPP had more fundraisers scheduled for today and tomorrow in Taichung and Kaohsiung that could see it bring in as much as NT$100 million (US$3 million) in cash.

Lin said prosecutors nationwide should investigate the fundraising tactic to determine if it contravenes the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法).

“The law stipulates that a donor cannot remain anonymous if the donation is more than NT$10,000, and that the total amount of donations to a single candidate by an individual may not exceed NT$100,000,” Lin added.

KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said there were reports of one Tsai supporter purchasing 30 vouchers, which would total NT$1.5 million, far above what the law permits.

“If the supporter bought them and then gave them to others as gifts, it would constitute bribery,” said Wang, who also urged prosecutors to investigate.

Saying that the DPP was “standing with the wealthy and the powerful,” Wang asked why it held fundraising events in Tainan for Tsai “rather than for the residents living in the areas seriously affected by dengue fever.”

Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said there are no rules governing how fundraising events should be held, but that “all donations should be transparent, according to the law.”

Attending an event in the name of others might be against the Political Donations Act, but not necessarily the Criminal Code, he said.

Asked if such fundraising dinners could constitute bribery, Chen said they would if it was a matter of quid pro quo or to influence a voter’s intention.

However, prosecutors “would step up their efforts to look into it” and make a determination, Chen said.

DPP spokesperson Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) said the Ministry of Justice appears to be “collaborating with the KMT’s political manipulations, announcing that prosecutors would step up investigations without any evidence in hand.”

The ministry was impeding the rule of law, he said.

Every meal voucher from Tsai’s campaign headquarters is part of a fundraising campaign that adheres to the law covering donations, he said.

“Campaign headquarters does not accept political donations from big corporations and duly reports all donations to the Control Yuan,” he said. “The DPP has no party assets and can only attract small donations from the public for the campaign. This is a campaign process that is normal for any democratic party in the world.”

Additional reporting by Chang Hsiao-ti