Foreign Agent Registration Act disclosures to the Department of Justice reveal that Taiwan Civil Government spent $73,000 to create the Taiwanese American Chamber of Commerce. TCG controls four of the five members of the TACC board. A TCG delegation was at the launch party and occupied a table at center stage.
Neil Hare, TCG lobbyist and registered Foreign Agent, is head of the new Chamber of Commerce chapter. During the launch presentation Hare cited his relationship with Taiwan Civil Government as his qualification to form TACC. It was Hare’s report to the Department of Justice that revealed the $73,000 expenditure.
According to the FARA filing, the money was for “Website, Branding & TACC Incorporation.” Hare’s report includes no itemization for the cost of the fancy launch party. There is one unexplained category called “Advertising, Shipping, and Event Expenses” of $232,047.94. With no further information provided, the Department of Justice cannot say how much TCG actually allocated to form TACC.
The $73,000 payment was made on April 20, 2018, three weeks before the fraud arrests of TCG founder Roger Lin and others. Lin is accused of deceiving group members with false claims about identification cards. At the time of the payment, planning was underway for a meeting with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and a TCG delegation at a Heritage Foundation event in May 2018 sponsored by Taiwan Civil Government. The start-up of TACC would have been a good overture to Ross but the Commerce Secretary abruptly pulled out minutes before the start of the Heritage forum on Asian trade issues.
A Roll Call Live program with two unnamed Representatives the same day, also sponsored by TCG, was abruptly canceled signaling that Washington insiders became aware of the arrests a week earlier.
Taiwan’s longstanding “strategic ambiguity” and imposed rule by the exiled Republic of China have created a multitude of small groups and parties seeking Taiwan sovereignty. Taiwan Civil Government, formed in 2008, has become one of the most vocal, and flush, advocacy groups. Shunned by the larger Taiwan independence movement, TCG members wear uniforms, march in parades, and urge the United States to expel the ROC from Taiwan. The stoutly pro-American group displays portraits of Donald Trump in its offices around Taiwan and sponsored several Trump inauguration events.
In May 2017, at a POLITICO event sponsored by TCG, Julian Lin met with presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway. Julian, wife of Roger Lin, is also accused of making false claims about the TCG identification card and faces trial. Julian has testified that she was able to use her TCG card as identification to enter the United Nations building in New York and the National Press Club in Washington.
Although TCG is hard at work developing a shadow government to replace the ROC, they have been under a news media whiteout about their activities. American media houses, including the New York Times, that have been recipients of TCG spending on events and advertising have failed to report on the ongoing criminal prosecution of their sponsors. The Chamber of Commerce approach through the business community is TCG’s new strategy to gain a foothold of respectability and clout.
Three of the five TACC board members are from Global Vision Communications, Neil Hare’s public relations firm. TCG has pumped over a million dollars into GVC for professional services in the last two years. A Global Vision Communications pay-roller on the TACC board is Shelley Hymes, who has been the recipient of six-figure consulting fees from Taiwan Civil Government. Hymes and Hare both accompanied a TCG delegation to Zurich, Switzerland in January 2018, where they met with the Switz-American Chamber of Commerce.
The fourth TACC board member connected with TCG is William Tseng, who holds the title of Minister of Energy in TCG, and is an experienced international trader. Tseng earlier attended the United States Chamber of Commerce “Global Supply Chain Summit” conference and was part of the Zurich junket.
With a business application fee of $10,000, new members are not exactly rushing to join TACC. Also, the limited Taiwanese connections of the TACC board hampers a word-of-mouth network from developing. Hare has been sending out tips on boosting employee morale to show that the new chapter is alive and well. It is unknown if TCG will continue to subsidize TACC past the current contract with Global Vision Communications.