Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT lashes out at bank dinners as `campaigning'

MASQUERADES? KMT caucus whip Kuo Su-chun said two state-run banks had 'disguised' their intention to stump for the DPP with the dinner parties

By Flora Wang and Loa Lok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus yesterday accused two state-run banks of violating administrative impartiality by holding thanksgiving dinners to campaign for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

KMT caucus whip Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) told a press conference that the Taiwan Cooperative Bank and the Taiwan Business Bank had "disguised" their intention to campaign for the DPP by holding thanksgiving dinners for their customers.

"Many state-run banks have been holding year-end gatherings or thanksgiving dinners. However, they only invited DPP legislative or presidential candidates [as special guests]," Kuo said.

"For example, the Taiwan Cooperative Bank only invited the DPP's legislative candidates to a dinner in Kaohsiung last night [Wednesday]. If it had really been a thanksgiving dinner, why would the bank have only invited candidates from a certain camp?" she said.

Kuo urged the banks "not to spend public funds [on dinners] to campaign for the DPP."

Several KMT legislators, joined by reporters and photographers, rushed into a Taiwan Cooperative Bank thanksgiving dinner in Kaohsiung's Han-Hsien International Hotel on Wednesday night.

The lawmakers confronted bank chairman Hsu Teh-nan (許德南) and KMT Legislator Chen Chieh (陳杰) asked him why he had not been invited, even though he is a customer of the bank.

DPP legislative candidates Pasuya Yao (姚文智) and Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) were at the dinner.

Hsu told the KMT legislators that the dinner was being held to help the bank develop relations with customers.

At the press conference, KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said the Taiwan Cooperative Bank begun its "campaign dinners" for the DPP in September.

The bank held a dinner at the Cosmos Hotel in Taipei on Sept. 12, which was attended by Presidential Office Secretary-General Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) and Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), the secretary-general of DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) campaign office, Ting said.

KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) said that the Taiwan Business Bank had invited three DPP legislators to a dinner on Oct. 18 and that the bank had scheduled another dinner for Monday night at the Evergreen International Hotel in Taichung.

The two banks had violated a resolution passed by the legislature's Finance Committee that bars state-run banks from holding gatherings to campaign for a particular political party, Fai said.

Fai said the caucus will file a lawsuit against the banks for breach of trust, malfeasance and corruption once it collects "enough evidence."

Meanwhile, DPP caucus whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) responded to the KMT's complaints yesterday by saying the KMT "thinks too much."

"I would regard it [the dinners] as purely a business activity. It is the holiday season and it is natural for people to try to please their customers," Wang said.

"Why do they [the KMT] have to link everything to politics and elections?" he said.

In other developments, Ting accused the National Youth Commission (NYC) yesterday of using public funds to campaign for Frank Hsieh.

Showing the press copies of an e-mail sent by commission Secretary Lai Shih-zhe (賴世哲) to members of NYC's youth forum, Ting said the commission was trying to motivate the youngsters to join the campaign team for Hsieh's "Taiwan Reform Forum."

Ting said the e-mail, which referred to NYC Chairwoman Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) as both "chairwoman of the commission" and "director of Hsieh campaign's youth department," showed that Cheng's role in the commission was indistinguishable from her role with the Hsieh campaign.

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