Wed, Feb 11, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Minister questioned about Tuntex chairman's money

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A verbal duel took place between Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday over former Tuntex Group chairman Chen Yu-hao's (陳由豪) NT$10 million donation to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

During a joint interpellation by legislators Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) and Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源), the minister was grilled about whether President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had violated the Election and Recall Law (選舉罷免法) by accepting Chen Yu-hao's political donation in the run-up of the 2000 presidential election.

Cho and Lee said the former Tuntex chairman, who is now a fugitive, might have broken the law by issuing two checks of NT$5 million to the president's campaign headquarters. They said the election law restricts the amount a business group may donate to one political party to NT$3 million.

"The donation was lawful," Chen Ting-nan replied, adding that the law only stipulates that NT$3 million is the maximum amount eligible for tax relief on political contributions, and that tax is levied on the amount exceeding NT$3 million.

Different people might give different answers to the question of whether the donation was proper or not, Chen Ting-nan said.

"The DPP has been striving to get the law governing political donations (政治獻金法) passed, despite resistance from opposition lawmakers," the minister went on to say.

The remark upset the two KMT lawmakers, who replied that the pan-blue camp had prioritized imposing a high moral standard on politicians.

"Chen Yu-hao also pledged NT$100 million in support of the other two presidential candidates [KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜)] in the 2000 election," which is 10 times the amount donated to Chen Shui-bian and his running mate, Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), the minister said.

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