Mon, Aug 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker urges Shih to disclose finances

DONATION RULES A legislator said that Shih Ming-teh, who is raising funds as part of a bid to oust the president, would be breaking the law if he didn't open up his books

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Charles Chiang, right, speaks at a press conference yesterday, saying that former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh's call for people to make an NT$100 donation to support a bid to oust President Chen Shui-bian violates the Statute Governing Charity Donations.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator yesterday called on the party's former chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) to disclose his financial details following the launch of his "one person, NT$100" donation campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

"As a fundraising initiator, [Shih] has to make his financial affairs transparent, tell people how much he owes the banks," DPP Legislator Charles Chiang (江昭儀) said at a press conference yesterday.

Campaign

Shih launched the campaign asking Chen to resign over a string of scandals including accusations that the president misused an expense account and alleged corruption by his wife and his in-laws. Shih said he would stage a sit-in after collecting the support of 1 million people.

Shih has appealed to the public to donate NT$100 each to the campaign, which he said would show their commitment to the campaign and was a way to examine people's feelings about Chen.

Illegal

The Ministry of Interior has said that it is illegal for Shih to accept donations for such a campaign, citing a statute regulating the purposes of political donations.

Chiang yesterday urged Shih to abide by the statute.

"[Shih] is a fighter for democracy, and he shouldn't violate the statute which was passed by the legislature," Chiang said.

In response, Ho De-fen (賀德芬), Shih's campaign spokeswoman and a professor at National Taiwan University, said they welcomed rational debate on the campaign, but added that making an accusation that they would misuse the money was unacceptable.

"We will never accept cash because it is difficult to record the inflow and outflow. We will only accept donations through remittance transfers," Ho said.

Ho said they would announce online how many people had added their names to the signature list, how many people had made donations and how much had been raised at 5pm every day.

"Every time the money is used, the user needs three lawyers to sign their names to an account book," she added.

TSU critique

In related news, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday said Shih was showing "excessive individual heroism" by launching the campaign to depose Chen.

Ho Min-hao (何敏豪), executive director of the TSU's Policy Committee, said that Shih had "made some contribution" to Taiwan's democracy, but whether his current campaign would "move the people" remained to be seen.

The president should do some soul-searching regarding why his six years in office have produced such poor results, but Shih was not acting in a rational way, Ho said, describing Shih's campaign as "insignificant."

Additional reporting by CNA

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