A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor yesterday accused the Kinmen County Government of paying for TV and print ads to be shown in MRT stations to campaign for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kinmen County commissioner candidate Lee Wo-shi (李沃士).
Showing a copy of an official document from Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC), DPP Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) told a press conference that the Kinmen County Government was listed as the “client” of the TRTC contract advertising company, and had paid the company to carry 15-second commercials on the 270 TV screens at all MRT stations in Taipei and full-size print ads at four MRT stations from last Sunday to Dec. 3.
The ads featured Lee promoting the county’s kaoliang liquor and inviting Kinmen residents to go home and “join him for a drink.”
The TRTC said the standard fee for a 15-second TV commercial is NT$90,000, while the price for print ads ranged from NT$80,000 to NT$450,000, depending on the size and location.
“This is a serious campaign scandal. The Kinmen County Government dared to use taxpayer money to campaign for the KMT candidate,” Chuang said at Taipei City Council.
The Kinmen County Government violated Article 6 of the Radio and Television Law (廣播電視法) by paying for ads to promote Lee’s campaign, Chuang said.
Lee should lose his party nomination if he is found to have collaborated with the county government to use government money for his campaign, Chuang said.
“I urge Taipei and Kinmen prosecutors’ offices to launch an investigation into this matter and determine the truth for voters,” he said.
Lu Chih-hui (盧志輝), chief secretary of the county government, rejected Chuang’s accusation and insisted that the county government was neutral in the election campaign.
“We will not fund any particular candidate and we welcome prosecutors to launch an investigation,” he said.
Chao Tsong-wei (趙宗威), director of the TRTC’s advertising department, said the contract advertising company was responsible for all ads at MRT stations. However, he did not say whether the county government had paid for the commercials.
The TRTC later issued a press release saying that staffers had made a mistake and that the applicant for the ads was “Kinmen County commissioner candidate Lee Wo-shi’s political donation account” — not the Kinmen County Government.
“It’s a mistake. The Kinmen County Government did not apply for the commercials and it did not pay the fees,” the press release said.