Former minister of transportation and communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時), who served as an adviser to Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) presidential campaign team, yesterday said allegations that he was involved in a quid pro quo exchange between the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) headquarters and Hung was “stupid.”
Yeh on Thursday said that KMT headquarters offered to give Hung NT$30 million (US$922,708) for her campaign on Oct. 5, a disclosure that led Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) to accuse Yeh and the KMT of agreeing to a quid pro quo arrangement for Hung to step down as the party’s presidential candidate.
All previous KMT presidential candidates received their funding from party headquarters, “so there should be no problem at all for the party to fund [its candidates],” Yeh said in rejection of the accusation.
“Hung had said [at the beginning of her campaign] that she would not need the party’s money, so [when the campaign found itself running short of funds] we said we would ‘borrow’ and then pay back the funds with public subsidies for candidates after the election,” Yeh added.
Yeh said that Chen’s accusation was a “stupid comment.”
“Had it been a quid pro quo arrangement, it would have taken place differently,” he added.
When asked whether Hung knew about him asking KMT headquarters for funds, Yeh said: “Yes, I think she knew.”
The former minister said that the decision was reached through discussion and coordination among Hung, KMT Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan (李四川) and himself.
However, the Chinese-language Apple Daily cited “a friend of Hung” as saying that Hung never asked Yeh to borrow money from the party.
“According to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法), a subsidy for a candidate is to be received by the party that nominated the candidate. One of Hung’s aides had asked [after Hung said she would not use the KMT’s funds] whether the party would help cover her campaign expenses, as the KMT would receive millions from the subsidy after the elections, but the party did not respond positively to the proposal, even after Hung was nominated on July 19 by the party congress,” the friend was quoted as saying.
“It is strange that Yeh would ask Lee for NT$30 million on Oct. 5, since party headquarters had always been reluctant to provide funding, and on Oct. 3 Chu tried to talk Hung out of her run, followed by the KMT Central Standing Committee proposing an extempore party congress on Oct. 4,” the report quoted the friend as saying.
According to the report, the friend said that Hung was unaware of Yeh’s actions, and later demanded that Yeh return the check after she was offered the funds.
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