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[Opinion] A Pledge of Clean Politics

Posted February. 22, 2005 22:56,   


Senator Mike DeWine (58 years-old, Republican-Ohio) is a politician who always ponders on “how to spend less taxpayers’ money.” When he was first elected in 1995, he did not use the Capitol Hill subway system. Because Capitol Hill is large, there is a subway system that connects the Capitol building and others. He did not ride it because he had said that “it was a waste of tax money” to use 18 million dollars to repair the subway the previous year, and had pledged “not to ride the subway even if he was elected.”

He strictly kept his promise. He did not even ride the subway when residents came to visit him at the capitol and the situation required that he rode it. He would guide the guests to the station and walk to the destination to meet them again. He was reelected because he was more frugal with tax money than his own. It was the first time in 25 years a Republican Senator got reelected in Ohio. He is still called “the bodyguard of the poor.”

National Assembly Speaker Kim Won-ki is pondering over the housing problems of regional representatives who do not have houses in Seoul. In finding rented houses or officetels for the 60 first-time representatives, the surrounding environment cannot help be poor, giving rise to complaints. He feels uncomfortable listening to complaints saying, “I feel like I sleep in a cargo container” and “I want to live in a house where I can open the windows.” He cringes when he sees the lawmakers thinking “even if I can’t provide funds for them, the least I can do is provide comfortable sleeping places.”

The Grand National Party representatives of the National Assembly’s political reform committee suggested a “Pledge of Clean Politics to the People” under which representatives involved in corrupt activities during their term resign from office. In contrast, some representatives are calling for “an amendment to the law so that it allows corporate sponsors, as it is difficult to see to national affairs under the current law,” when it has been less than a year since the political funding law has been revised. “Clean politics” is not easy to achieve, unless one has an attitude like Senator DeWine.

Lee Jae-ho, Editorial Writer, leejaeho@donga.com