Dozens of candidates in last year’s nine-in-one elections are suspected of violating the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法), the Control Yuan said.
The historical Nov. 29 elections were the largest local government polls in the nation’s history, so-named because they elected officials and representatives in nine administrative categories, from county commissioners and special municipality mayors to city councilors and borough wardens.
Control Yuan division director Lin Hui-mei (林惠美) said that preliminary audits revealed that many might have violated Article 7 of the Political Donations Act.
Lin said that Article 7 stipulates that candidates are forbidden from taking donations from “profit-seeking businesses in accumulative deficit not made up according to relevant provisions,” “public enterprises or the civil enterprises in which the government holds not less than 20 percent of the capital,” and “manufacturers that have signed a government procurement contract of a large amount or an investment contract of important public construction and are performing the contract.”
Lin said that the Control Yuan has made a preliminary audit of the 2,294 candidates in the elections, which suggested “a portion” might have received contributions from corporations with cumulative deficits, but the exact number has yet to be determined.
Sources from the Control Yuan said the number of candidates who allegedly received funding from businesses in deficit is “quite high,” adding that “a minority” of politicians had received donations from state-owned enterprises or private firms in which the government own more than 20 percent of the public shares.”
There had been 255 cases of politicians accepting contributions from firms with cumulative deficits from Aug. 1, 2008, to June 30 this year, with fines of up to NT$42,513,128 (US$1.28 million) officials said.
The Control Yuan said that individuals investigated would be given notice and if they could demonstrate that due diligence was exercised before they accepted the money, they would not be held accountable.
The fine for receiving improper donations is between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million, officials said.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Jonathan Chen (陳純敬) called on candidates and donors to obey the law, adding that such offenses were committed in every election.
The most common offenses against the Political Donations Act have been individual donors exceeding the legal limit on single-candidate donations of NT$100,000 per year and exceeding the limit on overall political contributions of NT$200,000 per year, which accounted for the 357 convictions in the past seven years, Control Yuan statistics from the same period showed.
Other common forms of illegal campaign donations include for-profit businesses exceeding the NT$1 million legal limit per year for single-candidate donations and the NT$2 million limit on total contributions and politicians receiving donations from businesses in deficit, receiving donations from non-voters, receiving more than NT$10,000 from an anonymous donor and failing to notarize with a certified accountant when the sum of contributions exceeds NT$10 million, the Control Yuan said.
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