The dispute over former Kuomintang legislator Diane Lee’s dual ROC-US citizenship has lasted nearly one year. The Central Election Commission (CEC) decided last week to annul all of Lee’s wins in previous elections, including the 7th Taipei City Council and the 4th, 5th, and 6th Legislative Yuan. The CEC annulled all relevant election certificates she had received from 1994 to 2005, the period Lee was identified to have held dual nationality and concurrently served in public office. The ruling was made as eight CEC members voted for it while three opposed.Lee (李慶安) is the daughter of KMT monster heavyweight Lee Huan. Her brother Lee Ching-hua is also a legislator, and co-founded the New Party back in 1993. Both would leave the KMT to join the PFP when James Soong founded that in 2001 after an unsuccessful run for the Presidency in 2000, breaking ranks to support Soong just days before the election, when it seemed highly probable he would win. The Lees rejoined the KMT when the PFP quietly disappeared a couple of years ago.
As regards repayment of her income as “illegal gains,” the CEC said that the issue should be forwarded to the Taipei City Council and Legislative Yuan, respectively, for further discussion as they had been responsible for her salaries.
In response, Lee issued a statement yesterday, saying that the CEC was only an administrative agency and, hence, did not have the authority to annul her previous election victories. Lee vowed that she would appeal the CEC’s ruling in accordance with the law. Likewise, Diane Lee’s lawyer, Lee Yung-ran, said that the ruling was unlawful because an electoral action was legitimate only after a judicial ruling was made. The lawyer claimed that the CEC shouldn’t have arbitrarily annulled Lee’s wins in previous elections and that Diane Lee would seek an administrative remedy within the legal 30-day period after she received an official notification from the CEC.
A quick comparison might be illuminating. Under the law Lee must return the $3 millon she made over the last 14 years in salary for her various posts. The CEC declined to enforce that, saying it was up to the legislature and the Taipei City Council, two bodies currently under the control of the KMT, to order the money returned. Since the Chen family must return its monies to Taiwan....
The SIU had provided the Chen Chih-chung couple with information of an official bank account designated by the Prosecutor General’s Office, but to date no funds were remitted into the account. If the Chen Chih-chung couple hope to have their plea bargaining petition approved, they have to provide assistance to the prosecutors to arrange a wire transfer to the Prosecutor General’s account of the NT$ 240 million and the US$ 10 million which Yuan-Ta Securities had remitted to their Swiss bank accounts. If they did so, the SIU would consider commencing the plea bargaining procedure with the Chen couple based on their cooperative attitude and behavior....it would seem right to ask that Lee return her salary. It will be an interesting test of the system. Lee, the privileged scion of a powerful family, was once a possibility for Taipei mayor. The Taipei Times has a good backgrounder on her and her sibs here.