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Dispute over campaign funding to drag partisan standoff

Posted January. 07, 2001 20:16,   


As the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) prepares an offensive against Grand National Party (GNP) president Lee Hoi-Chang and vice president Kang Sam-Jae over allegedly accepting campaign contributions from the Agency for National Security Planning, the opposition is planning to launch an outdoor protest over the issue.

The GNP is planning to begin its battle by calling the 217th extraordinary session of the National Assembly the day after the current parliamentary session closes on Tuesday. The ruling party is opposed to the extra session, which it sees as a ploy to block certain GNP lawmakers from possible arrest. The discord is likely to delay house action on various pending bills, including one on revising the Pharmaceuticals Law.

MDP chairman Kim Joong-Kwon called an emergency meeting of party leaders Sunday, at which time attendees argued that GNP head Lee was in a position to know of the alleged illegal campaign funding because he chaired the then New Korea Party's election committee at the time of the 15th general elections in l996. They called on Lee to offer an apology to the people for misusing the budget of the counter-intelligence and national security agency.

The MDP also demanded that Kang submit to prosecution questioning because he was the working-level chief of the New Korea Party's election campaign. They claim that he must have known about the nature of the funding, unlike those others who may have received the money without any knowledge of its origins.

The opposition party also convened a meeting of party officials, who joined the call for a full investigation of three major slush funds scandals involving the ruling party. The three cases involve at least two billion won allegedly given to President Kim Dae-Jung; suspicions that President Kim operated slush fund of at least 67 billion won at the time of 1997 presidential election; and allegations that campaign funds were given to ruling party candidates during the election of the 16th National Assembly.