Ministry mulls political donations cap

CHANGES::With elections being combined, the ministry said it was amenable to raising the amount that individual voters can donate — but not that by businesses

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 - Page 3

The Ministry of the Interior is considering relaxing the cap on political donations from individuals, but will not make any changes to restrictions on political donations from businesses, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) told the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

Chien made the remark during an Internal Administration Committee meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the Political Donations Act (政治獻金法).

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) and Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) made separate proposals to raise the amount that an individual could give as political donations to candidates.

“Different elections have been held simultaneously in recent years, so it doesn’t make sense that the political donations an individual make [for different elections] should be calculated together,” Chao said.

“The maximum amount of political donations that an individual may give should be calculated separately when several elections are held at the same time,” he said.

Lin, on the other hand, suggested that all political donations be calculated together, but that the cap per individual be raised based on the number of elections held.

“For instance, where seven elections are held together, a voter should be allowed to donate up to NT$700,000 [US$24,000], and if five elections are held together, the cap would be NT$500,000,” she said.

Currently, the Political Donations Act stipulates that an individual may donate up to NT$100,000 per year to a specific candidate and may donate up to NT$200,000 to multiple candidates.

A business may donate up to NT$1 million to a particular candidate and NT$2 million to several candidates. However, companies that have posted losses are prohibited from making donations.

Chien said the ministry agreed that changes were necessary and that it was discussing possible revisions.

“What we’re considering is to adjust the total amount of donations allowed when several elections are combined, but we’re not likely to change the NT$100,000 cap that each individual voter can give to a particular candidate,” Chien said.

“We will submit our proposed revisions in the next legislative session,” he said.

However, the deputy minister said that the ministry had no plans to change the rules on donations by businesses.