The KMT's Diane Lee, Legislative Abuse, and the Ways of the Weasel

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Saturday December 27, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

For those that watch the scandals and rumor-mongering of Taiwan, Diane Lee's name is an all too familiar by-word. One of her more famous past escapades and abuses of her legislative position was in 2002 when she wrongfully accused DPP supporter and head of the Department of Health, Twu Shiing-jer. Lee charged that Twu kissed another man in a KTV parlor and that public morals were being corrupted. She insisted over and over again that she had her man and she was the upholder of morality not rumors. Of course, investigations proved Lee wrong and she had to make a public apology - what else could she do when caught in a blatant falsehood. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) dominated Legislative Yuan (LY) gave her a slap on the wrist and let her off easily as it has with the convicted Chiu Yi. It seems now she is again counting on her KMT comrades in the LY to bail her out once more.

The issue this time is that of dual nationality; at stake is not only the fact that Diane Lee has been living a lie in violating Taiwan law for over 14 years but also that she must pay back to Taiwan taxpayers over US$ three million dollars of illegally collected salary. Enter the ways of the weasel.

After repeated accusations of the above violation and inquiry, Taiwan's Legislative Yuan just received an official letter from the US government stating that Lee does hold a US passport.

Lee continues to deny it; after all she is facing criminal charges and more than a US$ 3 million payback. Her claim is that if one "intends" to give something up, then it is given up. Ah yes, intentions good or otherwise, where do they pave the way to?

Lee became a US citizen in 1991; when she became a Taipei city councilor in 1994, she states her US citizenship magically disappeared. Lee later became a Legislator in 1998. Taiwan's Nationality Act clearly states that Legislators must specifically show official documentation that that they have given up any and all foreign citizenship. Lee never did this. And even now though these allegations being discussed for months Lee has not been able to show any official documentation except her references to the magical disappearance.

It is impossible for the US or any other country to check whether any and all of its passport holders ever take an oath of office in another country; that is why a formal declaration of the giving up of citizenship is required. Otherwise, a person could conveniently stash their passport, hold office in another country for profit and political gain, and then when leaving office, take their passport out of hiding and resume life in the USA. Convenient, yes; a rip-off of Taiwan citizens and even the US certainly; the ways of the weasel, judge for yourself.

Lee still has hope; the KMT controls Taiwan's Legislative Yuan as it always has. The speaker Wang Jin-pyng has generously given Lee over a month to provide it with the simple paper that she renounced her US citizenship. What fabrications, machinations and disappearances can happen in that month are open to speculation. Even then, the KMT legislature has only said it will simply "consider" further action on these criminal acts.