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Pres. Roh Proposes Ruling & Opposition Parties Disclose Campaign Funds

Pres. Roh Proposes Ruling & Opposition Parties Disclose Campaign Funds

Posted July. 15, 2003 21:39,   


President Roh Moo-hyun on Tuesday proposed that both ruling and opposition parties disclose how they raised and used campaign funds during the presidential election last year, adding that an independent counsel would assist in verifying the records.

However, the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) said that the ruling camp was trying to gloss over suspicions of its illegal fundraising, calling on the president to disclose the campaign funds of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) first. The GNP’s response is viewed as a rejection of Mr. Roh’s proposal.

The president said that politicians, him included, should make candid confessions before the public and “Korean history” regarding the current controversy over presidential election campaign fundraising, according to presidential Chief of Staff Moon Hee-sang. President Roh also said that the current controversy should be used as an opportunity for political reform, rather than deteriorate into useless political strife.

At a press conference, the president spoke out on the controversy surrounding the ruling party’s campaign funds, with Chief of Staff Moon Hee-sang, Senior Secretary for Civil Affairs Moon Jae-in, Senior Secretary for Political Affairs Ryu In-tae, and Lee Hae-sung, senior secretary for public information, present.

Regarding the scope of campaign funds, Mr. Roh suggested the total cost during election preparations, including money used in party primaries, as well as the election campaign costs reported to the National Election Committee. With respect to who will verify the records, the president said he would accept whichever approach both the ruling and opposition parties agree on, whether it is an independent counsel, the prosecution, the National Election Committee, or an ad-hoc committee within the National Assembly.

However, the president said that the revelation and verification of campaign funds should not have a negative impact on the economy, according to the presidential senior secretary for public information. Moon Jae-in claimed that there should be a special law with an exemption clause on how businesses raise campaign funds, based on the agreement of both ruling and opposition parties. However, Mr. Moon made clear that legal violations committed by politicians in soliciting campaign funds would be prosecuted.

In response, GNP spokesman Rep. Park Jin said, "We expected the an honest confession by the president, but instead we got the same old excuses from his presidential chief of staff. We are more outraged than disappointed. We will not allow the president to paper over suspicions concerning the MDP’s campaign fundraising with a political maneuver."

GNP spokesman Park said the president should disclose the whole truth behind its campaign fundraising and order the prosecution to conduct a thorough investigation, involving the MDP’s election preparation committee members. Then, said Park, he can discuss the revision of a related law as part of overall political reform.

Jeong-Hun Kim Yeon-Wook Jung jnghn@donga.com jyw11@donga.com