Like the legendary Phoenix of mythology rising from ashes of former self, Taiwan Civil Government ex-lobbyist Neil Hare has taken a new day job. Hare is now a lawyer at McCarthy Wilson Ltd. Hare will be working on Small Business Administration loans and other business matters. However not all is sweetness and bliss, Hare had some excess baggage from the heady days of breaking bread and sipping wine with Washington insiders on behalf of his Taiwanese sugar daddy, Roger Lin. The TCG bankrolled the Taiwanese American Chamber of Commerce chapter of which Hare was the head.
Never more than a shell operation controlled by Hare, TACC was to be a rival of mainstream Chamber of Commerce operations in the Republic of China in-exile. The “soft power” approach was to be TCG’s pathway for ridding Taiwan of the ROC regime installed on Formosa by the United States after World War II. Hare’s backdoor scheme was hatched on a TCG trip to Zurich, Switzerland where Hare arranged a visit with the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce ploy came into play around the time of the May 2018 arrests of TCG Secretary General Roger Lin, his wife, Julian, and Tsai Tsai-yuan, the TCG Prime Minister. Structured like a shadow government in waiting, TCG was founded in 2008 by Lin and others. The group seeks United States assistance ridding the island of the exiled ROC government.
Taiwan Civil Government’s stance has put the group at odds with the exiled Chinese government administering Taiwan and group leaders have been charged with political fraud, purportedly cheating members with false claims of United States support. Hare managed to avoid being charged by ROC prosecutors but was the subject of inquiry by the court prosecuting the defendants.
Hare arranged a 2017 rendezvous between Julian Lin and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. The private chat between Lin and Conway was followed by a planned Heritage Foundation reception for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in 2018. That meet and greet session was called off at the last minute by the White House after news of the Taiwan arrests reached Washington as Ross was en route to the event.
Although the TCG’s inroads into Washington power circles were all but ended by the arrests, business at Hare’s public relations company, Global Vision Communications, boomed as TCG donations flowed in from the faithful.
Initially, Hare was nonchalant about the arrests despite the harsh pre-trial detentions of Roger and Julian Lin. Hare said he was not concerned about events “on the ground” in Taiwan. However, as TCG largess flowed in to Hare’s firm he became Roger Lin’s mouthpiece in the United States.
Hare’s plan was to camouflage TCG money and influence under the umbrella of a Chamber of Commerce chapter. TCG paid out $73,000 for a launch party and advertising in Washington. A TCG delegation flew in from Taiwan for the soiree. Neil Hare was the happy host.
Membership fees for Hare’s chapter were double the national Chamber of Commerce rate and few ventured forth to sign up. Hare kept up the pretense for a while, sending out an occasional public relations blurb about Taiwan and manning a table at a Chamber event or two.
On June 8, 2020, all illusion was gone when Hare dissolved TACC and took down its website.
Not long before Roger Lin’s death in 2019, a new million dollar contract with Hare was signed. However, the TCG defaulted on the first two payments and Hare canceled the contract apparently ending his friendly relationship with Julian Lin after being stuck with a million dollar loss.
After Roger Lin’s death the group moved forward under the widow’s watch. Julian Lin already had the informal title of Ms. Secretary General and it seemed only natural for her to inherit the group’s leadership. However, Tsai Tsai-yuan and his supporters had other ideas and wanted to clean house. The result was in the fall of 2019 the TCG split into two factions with Tsai’s organization dubbed TCG 3.0 and the division has sharpened as time goes on.
Tsai recently had a meeting of TCG 3.0 and gave a report which included negotiations with Neil Hare. The report quoted Hare as predicting a 50-50 chance of recovering the money in two Washington bank accounts frozen by the ROC. It was reported that Hare could bring a civil suit for $30,000 to unfreeze one TCG Foundation bank account with $2,400,000. For $50,000 Hare could bring a lawsuit against Julian Lin.
The report continued that pursuant to the US Taiwan Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement process, ROC prosecutors in Taoyuan asked for and the Department of Justice obtained, a bank freeze. Hare was quoted to say that in the Foreign Agent Registration Act reports he had to file that Taiwan Civil Government was run by Roger Lin, a businessman, and that members thus have a recognizable legal interest in the funds and can reclaim them.
Hare was supposedly bound by a non-disclosure agreement not to reveal the amount in Julian Lin’s frozen account. It was also noted that Hare insists he is owed $400,000 for the two missed payments prior to his canceling the contract with Roger Lin. It was claimed that Hare would compromise and settle for $120,000. Hare also allegedly offered to lobby on behalf of TCG 3.0 for $200,000 per year.
If TCG.30 tries to go after the money in frozen bank accounts, with or without Hare and his new law firm, it will be met by opposition by Julian Lin. ROC prosecutors, who sought the freeze, can be expected to seek confiscation of the funds as ill-gotten gains. Also, Roger Lin reportedly left a long trail of unpaid taxes, in both the ROC and the United States. Tax collectors can be expected to enter the legal battle. Finally, individual members of the TCG who donated or loaned money could seek intervention thus ending up in a four or five way court battle royal. Sorry Neil, a 50-50 chance of winning that one does not seem likely.
Hare’s biography at McCarthy Wilson says, “In addition to legal services, he will also provide crisis communications services to McCarthy Wilson clients whose matters demand a response in both courts of law as well as the court of public opinion.”
If Neil Hare’s new law firm takes on the recovery of seized bank accounts and enters the internecine warfare of Taiwan Civil Government’s infighting, Hare might end up having to do some crisis communications for McCarthy Wilson when complaints against the firm start flying by disgruntled TCG members.
Meanwhile, in Taoyuan, prosecutors slowly grind away at what seems to be an endless trial against Julian Lin and Tsai Tsai-yuan and others. If there was fraud committed against TCG members the culpability of Julian and Tsai might be much less than that of Roger Lin who may have deceived both. Charges against Roger Lin were dropped after his death and we will never know if he was a fraudster as alleged or the victim of a political prosecution as he maintained.