The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus yesterday demanded that New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) step down over what it called the municipality’s misuse of proceeds from lottery ticket sales, but local officials said the city government had done nothing wrong.
TSU Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) told a press conference that the city’s administration has been financing various peripheral groups affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), such as the Chinese Youth Peace Corps and women’s associations, with revenue from lottery ticket sales.
“The New Taipei City Government used lottery proceeds to fund KMT grass-roots groups,” Hsu said.
According to lottery regulations, 26 percent of total ticket sales revenue is designated as proceeds, half of which are distributed to local governments. Local governments are required to use the proceeds for public welfare purposes, such as social welfare, enhancing employment and medical subsidies.
However, the groups have spent the proceeds on organizing yoga, singing, ballet and ballroom dancing classes, which are not related to public welfare, TSU Legislator Yeh Jin-ling (葉津鈴) said, adding that the Ministry of Health and Welfare has not been monitoring how the proceeds are used.
According to TSU Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉), an aspirant in the municipality’s mayoral election in November, New Taipei City has received the largest share of the proceeds, about NT$2 billion (US$660 million) from the NT$10 billion collected annually.
Lin said Chu should offer an explanation over the matter and step down for his “wrongdoing.”
In a press release, the New Taipei City Government said the accusations were a TSU smear campaign, adding that all the programs that received lottery proceeds were monitored by the city council. The funds are used to benefit disadvantaged groups, like those for women and senior citizens, it added.