Wed, Apr 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT task force organizing fundraising dinners to help local chapters pay bills

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Once the nation’s political party with the deepest pockets, the cash-strapped Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has found itself on the unfamiliar ground of having to hold fundraisers so local chapters can pay their bills.

The KMT has established a task force to organize fundraising dinners and has ordered several local chapters that are still relying on financial support from headquarters to defray expenses to start raising funds on their own.

The policy marked a major deviation from the past, when the KMT customarily covered all local-level operational and personnel expenses from its central coffers.

However, being out of power and subjected to investigations by the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee appear to have taken a toll on the KMT’s wherewithal.

KMT headquarters had earlier this year announced that as of Feb. 1 it would pull financial support from local chapters, except for the salaries of select party officials and a chapter operation fund of between NT$12,000 and NT$18,000 (US$411 and US$617).

However, the strategy to wean local chapters from financial support has not been successful in five chapters in Chiayi City and county, as well as Yunlin, Changhua and Pingtung counties.

“We are so poor, the ghosts could take us at any time,” KMT director of administration and management Chiu Da-chan (邱大展) has reportedly said.

Delegating the responsibility of organizing fundraising dinners to local chapters would relieve the party’s debt burden, improve cohesion of the chapters and give KMT politicians a platform from which to communicate their policy ideas, a source said on condition of anonymity.

Such benefits would help the party’s prospects in the November nine-in-one elections, the source said, adding that the party plans to hold fundraising dinners on a quarterly or half-yearly basis in each electoral district for lawmakers.

A growing gap between rich and poor chapters since February has been a source of concern, especially as poor chapters have been forced to scale down their operations, leading to a further loss of income, the source said.

A Pingtung chapter fundraising dinner had each of the 200 local representatives adopt one table, resulting in NT$2 million being raised, the source said.

KMT vice secretary-general Tu Chien-teh (杜建德), who is in charge of the task force, has asked other underfunded chapters to following Pingtung’s model in organizing fundraisers, the source added.

“Pan-blue camp politicians are habitually shy and unaccustomed to asking for contributions,” the source said.

“Due to the unfortunate situation in which the party now finds itself, we need to change,” the source added. “Going forward, the party needs to push chapter conveners and officials not comfortable with asking.”

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