Sat, Mar 16, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Task force wants new laws to clean up party funding

CNA , TAIPEI

Eight legislators of different political stripes formed a special task force yesterday to push for early passage of a slew of "sunshine laws" that aim to rid Taiwan's politics of moneyed influence.

At the inaugural ceremony of the task force, members of the cross-party panel vowed to transcend partisan considerations.

KMT legislator Chen Shei-saint (陳學聖), also a convener of the group, said all members have agreed to focus efforts on the passage of laws to regulate political contributions and political parties during the current legislative session.

"All members also promise to serve as a conduit for the team's communications with their own legislative caucuses in discussing provisions of these `sunshine laws,'" Chen said.

The KMT legislator added that task-force members are committed to persuading their own legislative caucuses to allow their members to vote freely should showdown votes be held in the legislature.

"Even if we may be disciplined by our own parties, we are determined to give the priority to national interests instead of partisan interests," Chen stressed.

The seven other members of the team are Su Ying-kuei (蘇盈貴) of the TSU, Lee Yung-ping (李永萍) of the PFP, Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) and Julian Kuo (郭正亮) of the DPP and Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) of the KMT.

Chen said that the passage of "sunshine laws" is a nearly unanimous campaign promise of incumbent legislators from across the political spectrum.

"It is not only mainstream public opinion, but also a cross-party consensus. And now is the time to realize our campaign promise," he said.

Also at the inaugural ceremony, legislator Eugene Chao (趙永清), who serves as the task force's chief executive, said it has been 10 years since "sunshine laws" were first broached in the legislature.

"To date, only a few relevant laws, including the Public Functionary Assets Disclosure Law (公務人員財產申報法) and the Money Laundering Prevention Law (洗錢防治法), have been passed," Chao lamented.

"As many other important bills are still pending legislative approval, the goal of establishing clean politics remains a distant dream," he said.

The new cross-party panel has arranged a priority list of bills, including measures to regulate political parties and contributions, government lobbying and information disclosure.

"We have set the target that at least one `sunshine bill' must be passed at each legislative session," Chao noted.

In addition, Chao said, the panel would continue pushing the government to draft detailed enforcement rules to facilitate the implementation of several "sunshine bills" that have already cleared the legislative floor.

As many "sunshine laws" are closely related to party interests, discussions on various provisions are likely to trigger standoffs between the ruling and opposition parties.

"All members have reached a consensus that the common interests of all citizens will take precedence over any partisan interests," Chao said.

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