LDP panel proposes caps on corporate political donations

LDP panel proposes caps on corporate political donations

TOKYO, July 17 Kyodo

An advisory panel to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) proposed Wednesday to put caps on corporate political donations as a way to stop corruption.

The panel of financial experts and academics proposed halving the current ceiling on donations from companies to individual politicians, in cases where public works projects account for more than 50% of the companies’ sales.

Currently, the limits on corporate political donations are decided in accordance with certain criteria, including the company’s capital.

The group submitted the proposals to LDP Secretary General Taku Yamasaki.

The panel also proposed mandatory disclosure of political donations on the Internet, and a ban on donations in cash. It also recommended a ban on donations for a certain period of time from companies which have had administrative penalties imposed on them concerning public works bidding.

The panel’s move follows growing public anger over bribery allegations involving lawmaker Muneo Suzuki and more revelations of cozy ties between politicians and companies.

The LDP is expected to discuss the proposal at its headquarters for political reform.

The panel, which was launched last month, also called for a review of LDP branches, to prevent a flow of money to politicians from branches which are the main recipients of corporate donations.

It urged the LDP to carry out annual checks and institute mandatory information disclosure on the accounting of its employee organizations, such as labor unions at its headquarters and political fund management organizations.

The panel also proposed that the LDP do away with pork barrel politics and come up with measures to boost donations from individuals, such as simplifying the donation procedure for such donors.

Suzuki, a former member of the LDP, has been indicted on suspicion of taking a 5 million yen bribe from a Hokkaido lumber company in 1998.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Kyodo News International, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group