Why is there a “corruption” problem in Taiwan? Well, probably because corruption is perfectly legal. Recently, Chiu Yi and other Blues have been attacking President Chen, alleging that he has pocketed expenditures from a special slush fund erected for national intelligence purposes. Chen’s response was that he only had to provide receipts for half the slush fund.

In response to the attacks on Chen, a group of DPP city councilors in Taipei have been flinging accusations against Ma Ying-jeou. Ma’s defense, however, was that wiring money from the taxpayers into his own personal accounts is perfectly legal. First, the criticisms:

The mayor’s bank account has increased by more than NT$1.06 million (US$30,000) over the past seven years because he funneled half his monthly special allowance fund into his personal account, the councilors claimed.

Ma receives a special allowance of NT$340,000 per month.

Ma’s defense was the classic (1) it’s perfectly legal; and (2) everybody does it.

Ma responded to the criticism by pointing out that he was subject to the same regulations that governed the special allowances allotted to the country’s more than 6,000 top government officials — which allowed officials to wire the money directly into personal accounts and only required them to provide receipts for half the expenditures.

“Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) receives his fund in the same way, too ? The issue is the regulations and that is not my problem,” Ma said.

Officials can place the special funds in their accounts and then not provide receipts for half of them? Six thousand top officials have their own special accounts with the legal right to do that? The public trough is more like a pig wallow! On the other hand, the good thing is that being an official in the Taiwan government means never having a conflict of interest:

While Ma insisted that most of his fund money goes to public or charity events, Hsu questioned donations that Ma’s wife’s made to two foundations — the Dwen An Social Welfare Foundation and New Taiwanese Cultural Foundation.

Both foundations were founded by the mayor.

“You used Taipei residents’ money to make donations to your own foundations. Does that make any sense?” Hsu said.

No, it doesn’t make any sense. But it is perfectly legal.