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[Editorial] MDP Should Not Paper over Campaign Funds

Posted July. 20, 2003 21:47,   


Lee Sang-soo, secretary general of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), was right when he decided to disclose his party`s campaign funds in the presidential election last year, regardless of whether the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) will disclose its campaign funds. Currently the president is proposing that both ruling and opposition camps disclose at the same time. However, the president`s proposal is interpreted as the ruling camp`s attempt to drag the opposition party down with it in order to tide over the brewing crisis over last year`s campaign funds. If the MDP comes clean on its election expenses, it will help dispel the public`s doubts.

The controversy erupted as MDP chairman Chyung Dai-chul revealed that he helped the party collect campaign funds that exceed the legal limit, admitting he took political funds from Goodmorning City Co. Therefore, the ruling camp should come clean first.

Once the MDP decided to disclose its campaign funds, it should disclose all the details on the funds, not just for formality. And its disclosure should be followed by due diligence and verification. The party should transparently disclose all funds that are not recorded in the books and how these funds were used. The problem is where the line should be drawn over whether it is campaign funds or not. Wherever the line is drawn, it should get people’s understanding.

If the party were trying to falsify the campaign funds not to exceed the amount they had already reported to the National Election Commission, the revelation would be unnecessary. In that case, the current crisis would have more side effects, rather than being dissolved. Against this backdrop, at the press conference today, the president should make sure that the ruling camp would disclose its campaign fund first. The call for the disclosure by both ruling and opposition parties at the same time would not make sense.

And if the MDP comes clean, the GNP also should follow suit. The opposition party should not use the current crisis as an opportunity to mount an offensive on the ruling camp. Both ruling and opposition camps should regard the current crisis over campaign funds as an opportunity for political reform.