President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) special allowance fund was the hot topic at a legislative committee meeting yesterday, with the Presidential Office saying that Chen must produce receipts in order to be reimbursed by the fund.
Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), who delivered a special report on the fund to the Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday morning, said that it was inappropriate to seek reimbursement from the fund without receipts.
"We changed the internal rule governing the allocation of the president's special allowance fund last month so the use of the fund is more transparent and systematic," Cho said. "Starting last month, the president must produce receipts in order to use his special allowance fund."
Any money distributed to individuals involved in sensitive tasks such as diplomacy, military affairs or cross-strait issues will be handled in accordance with the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法), Cho said.
Previously the president's special allowance fund was divided -- one part covered confidential tasks for which reimbursement could be sought without receipts, and the other was non-confidential and required receipts.
Before Cho delivered the report, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) got into a verbal clash with fashion designer Ligi Lee (李慧芬), a key figure in the probe of the special allowance fund.
Lee wanted to attend the committee meeting as a petitioner, but Tsai said she was not welcome, called her "shameless" and told her to go back to "her country." Lee has been residing in Australia.
Lee called Tsai "vulgar" and said her country is Taiwan.
DPP Legislator Chen Chin-de (陳金德) also opposed a motion by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) to let Lee attend the committee meeting, saying that it was not a public hearing.
During the committee hearing, DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) proposed requesting constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices on how the special allowance funds given to the president and heads of local governments should be used and how they should be administered.
The grand justices are the final arbiters of the Constitution.