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Oh Se-hoon Act or Peter Pan Act

Posted December. 22, 2014 06:26,   


There was a "truck-gate" during the 2002 presidential election, in which then-Grand National Party (current Saenuri Party) received a truck loaded with illegal election fund worth whopping 82.3 billion won (approx. 73 million U.S. dollars). In the aftermath of this incident, a revision of the Political Fund Law led by Rep. Oh Se-hoon was approved by the National Assembly in March 2004. The revised bill contains provisions to abolish association of supporters for a political party, which may be used as a channel of illegal donation, and to prohibit political fund raising from a corporation or an organization. Under the current political fund law, forming supporter groups or raising election fund are allowed only for lawmakers, and presidential candidates, candidates for National Assembly and candidates for local elections (preliminary candidates included) during the election period. In such cases, corporates or organizations are not still allowed to donate funds.

Kim Moon-soo, chairman of the conservatism innovation special committee at the ruling Saenuri Party, recently made a proposal “to clear the way for a political party to freely raise funds in exchange for gradual abolishment of governmental subsidies.” According to Kim, it is not appropriate for a political party, which is a voluntary political association, to receive the state subsidies and a political party must be operated based on the party’s budget and donation like in other advanced nations such as the U.S. and the U.K.

However, his proposal faces strong opposition from the inside of the party. Constitution stipulates that "a political party is protected by the nation and the nation can support fund necessary for operation of the political party (Article 8, Section 3)." It means the claim to abolish the governmental subsidies to a political party violates the constitutional spirit. Concerns are also raised that discussion to legalize a corporate’s provision of political fund would follow, if a political party is allowed to raise support fund. The main opposition New Political Alliance for Democracy is concerned that allowing supporters’ group for a political party will lead to "imbalanced donations to the ruling party." Some members of the ruling party are afraid of possible coalition between labor unions and political parties.

The National Election Commission made a proposal for revision in the political fund law in 2011. In this proposal, supporter groups of political parties are allowed but it is mandatory to disclose personal information of those who donate large sum of money, and a corporation or an organization is allowed to donate money through the commission but details of donation are required to be made public. Due to strong opposition, the revision was not submitted to the National Assembly. Political parties have been refusing the performance-based evaluation system in which donation will go to a political party having better performance. Until when the parties would continue the current political fund raising structure like "winning food for Peter Pan," where the parties share taxpayers’ money.