The Cabinet yesterday denied that Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) secretly monitored a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker in an attempt to intervene in the party’s primary for the Kaohsiung mayoral election next year.
Chen reportedly ordered a probe into 12 requests that DPP Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) filed with the Executive Yuan to seek information and government assistance on certain issues.
After Lin lodged a complaint about the probe, Chen reportedly ordered the transfer of Executive Yuan employees conducting the investigation.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said Chen’s secret collection of information about the DPP lawmaker constitutes interference with a lawmaker’s duties, which violates the principle of the separation of legislative and executive powers.
The incident has also been interpreted as an attempt to prevent Lin — who represents the fourth electoral district in Kaohsiung — from securing the DPP’s nomination for the Kaohsiung mayoral race.
Chen, a former aide to Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), was suspected of helping the DPP’s “New Tide” faction, to which Lai and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) belong, to secure the nomination for the faction’s favored candidate.
Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) denied the accusations, saying that Chen’s actions were not politically motivated, but were a routine follow-up on the Cabinet’s handling of a lawmaker’s requests.
Lin, on behalf of her constituency, had asked the Cabinet to call cross-ministerial meetings on several issues and requested government assistance, so the Executive Yuan had to follow up on the process, Hsu said.
“Chen has tried to understand the situation of the conferences. She was only trying to understand Lin’s requests and no other lawmakers were involved,” Hsu said.
The transfer of Executive Yuan employees was not ordered by Chen, but was independently ordered by a senior official, Hsu said.
Chen is not a member of the DPP and therefore would exclude herself from the party’s primaries, the Executive Yuan said.
Meanwhile, Lin, who has been engulfed in animal rights and influence-peddling scandals since last month, said she has become the target of a mudslinging campaign.
“I have been a lawmaker for 16 years, but I have seemingly been turned into a bad person within a week,” Lin said.
Lin said she believed the Executive Yuan’s explanation, but called on Chen to respect the principle of the separation of powers as the reported monitoring was a “grave constitutional issue.”