A number of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) lawmakers said that they are planning to draft amendments to the Lobbying Act (遊說法), to prevent incidents similar to recent bribery allegations involving multiple legislators across different political parties.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) and Chen Chao-ming (陳超明), independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) of the New Power Party (NPP) were on Sept. 21 charged with breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a bribery case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co chairman Lee Heng-lun’s (李恆隆) 2013 legal battle with Far Eastern Group for control over the Pacific Sogo Department Store chain.
Ministry of the Interior statistics showed that since the Lobbying Act’s promulgation 12 years ago, government agencies at all levels have only registered 427 applications, of which 403 have been approved and 24 repealed.
Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times
No fines based on the act have ever been issued, the statistics showed.
The number of official requests does not properly reflect the truth, because those seeking to lobby are not aware that they are required to register, said an official, who commented on condition of anonymity, adding that lawmakers often see such acts as serving the public.
KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) on Friday said that low fines and a lack of government enforcement are the two main reasons for the act’s ineffectiveness, adding that without proper enforcement measures, most lobbyists would not file the legally required registration.
The proposed amendment also aims to reform the practice of lawmakers employing aides, as the practice has no legal basis and assistants often have business interests or even launder money, Lin said, calling for cross-party support of the draft.
TPP caucus convener Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that his party has formed a taskforce to work on an amendment to the act, as well as amendments to other laws concerning governance ethics, such as the Political Party Act (政黨法) and the Public Functionary Assets Disclosure Act (公職人員財產申報法 ).
DPP caucus secretary-general Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said that the main problem with the Lobbying Actstemmed from the government’s lack of effort to enforce it.
Amendments that do not address this issue would have no effect, he said, adding that the DPP caucus was willing to discuss any measures to improve the acts.
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