President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) camp is gearing up for the January presidential election and stepping up campaign efforts, but it has yet to answer questions on its campaign funding.
The office is contemplating establishing a campaign office in the central and southern parts of the country that would later serve as campaign headquarters, sources said, adding that personnel and organizations were currently being mustered.
Ma campaign executive director King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said the future campaign offices and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) local headquarters would have advisory committees as well as support associations, adding that a support association for the whole nation would also be established.
Organized mobilization is one of the party’s strong suits and the KMT is making it a priority, King said, adding that the campaign office has also begun to plan events relevant to teenagers in the hopes of promoting participation in public matters and increasing their identification with Ma.
However, the campaign office declined to answer questions on funding, with King saying that all funding would be “handled with respect to the law” and that a clear report would be unveiled after the elections.
As the elections are still ongoing, “I wish to maintain a low profile and decline to answer,” King said.
Sources familiar with the operations in the Ma camp said that since the establishment of Ma’s campaign offices, all expenses have come from KMT party central, adding that total expenses to date stood at about NT$15 million (US$518,000).
When the elections heat up, the costs could grow exponentially, the source said, adding that it would take a big bite out of party coffers.
In addition, the political situation and election matters research center operated by senior officials in the Ma camp has always been in “high-power operation” mode, with large numbers of visitors going in and out of the building where party central is located.
Total expenditures on polling have reached NT$10 million, the source said.
According to the source, in order to enforce its strength of mobilization, party central is currently enacting a project under Ma’s directive to hold small meetings in every borough across the nation, providing them with NT$2,000 per borough for expenses.
In total, it would spend about NT$20 million, the source said, adding that party central would foot the bill.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER