Chairman Choi Kang-uk of the Open Democratic Party, who has been charged for fabricating an internship certificate for the son of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, has been assigned to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug approved the request to move Choi from the Land Infrastructure and Transport Committee and Kim Jin-ae of the same party from the Legislation and Judiciary Committee to the Land Infrastructure and Transport Committee.
In charge of the prosecution and courts, the Legislation and Judiciary Committee can exert great influence on the Judiciary. With concerns rising both from the ruling and opposition parties of a possible abuse of the power, Choi was assigned to the Land Infrastructure and Transport Committee in June although he expressed his wish to be part of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. Choi, who served as the Secretary to the President for Public Office Discipline when Cho was Senior Secretary to the President for Civil Affairs, has been at the forefront of bashing Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl who has indicted the Chos. Choi is also on trial after being charged for distributing fake news during the April 15 general elections in October. He is bound to face a conflict of interest in the the Legislation and Judiciary Committee.
The ruling party criticized Park Duk-heum for abusing his power as a member of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee to contract 10 billion-won construction projects to a company where his family member was a major shareholder for five years. Park had to move to the Environment and Labor Committee and leave the People Power Party. It would be hypocrisy for the ruling party to turn a blind eye to Park’s assignment, which explains why it is being accused of doing whatever it takes to have Choi who is a vocal critic of Yoon in the committee.
It is up to the speaker of the National Assembly to decide which committee a member of a small party like the Open Democratic Party should be assigned to. Speaker Park disapproved the request to assign Choi to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee in June, but not this time. It was Speaker Park who submitted a revised National Assembly Act, which includes a detailed clause to prevent a conflict of interest. His approval of Choi’s transfer is nothing but hypocrisy.