Sun, Nov 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

EasyCard releases donation records following questions

By Huang Chien-hao  /  Staff reporter

EasyCard Corp on Friday published its donation records, which showed that the partly government-owned corporation sponsored several pan-blue foundations while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) was Taipei mayor.

The company published the records after KMT Taipei City Councilor William Hsu (徐弘庭) on Monday accused the company of making political donations to a pan-green affiliated foundation on behalf of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) during a question-and-answer session with the mayor.

Hsu accused the company of donating to the New Culture Foundation, of which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) is the chief executive.

EasyCard at the time said it donated because it supported the foundation’s goals of “boosting civic engagement among young people” and “improving participants’ civic literacy.”

However, Hsu questioned the legitimacy of the donations, saying lecturers at the foundation’s workshops were largely limited to DPP politicians, including Hsieh, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) and lawmakers.

Hsu was considering reporting EasyCard to the Control Yuan over improper donations, he said, prompting Ko to issue a directive to establish principles and a standard operating procedure for donations to be followed by six companies in which the Taipei City Government holds an ownership stake.

EasyCard’s donation records showed that it had funded the Eisenhower Fellows Association in the Republic of China from 2010 to 2013, after then-EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文) in 2009 won a grant awarded by the organization.

The company also sponsored special-edition identification cards for the Next Generation Leaders camps organized by the association at a value of NT$140,000 (US$4,640).

In 2013, the final year EasyCard sponsored the camp, lecturers included pan-blue camp members such as former KMT vice chairman Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), former Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and media personality Sisy Chen (陳文茜).

Among other events EasyCard sponsored that were held by KMT members and pan-blue actors were an event held by former KMT lawmaker Pan Wei-kang’s (潘維剛) Modern Women’s Foundation to celebrate the centennial of Women’s Day, toward which the company donated NT$1.64 million; a seminar on digital photography held by the 21st Century Foundation, founded by New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) father-in-law, Kao Yu-jen (高育仁), which received NT$110,000; and an event about raising professional soldiers’ children held by the Ta Peng Foundation, an offshoot of the National Women’s League, for which Ta Peng received NT$100,000.

EasyCard said that as of September, it had donated NT$17 million to events that are in the public interest, only NT$100,000 of which went to the New Culture Foundation.

EasyCard had “definitely” not favored any particular organization, the company said.

Asked why it frequently donated to pan-blue foundations when Hau was Taipei mayor, the company said that “was a long time ago” and that current staff have no knowledge of the details.

Netizens yesterday ridiculed Hsu, who was Lien’s secretary at EasyCard, saying his grilling Ko on the issue had backfired and had dealt more damage to his allies than to the mayor.

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