[EDITORIALS]A Blue House in disarray

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[EDITORIALS]A Blue House in disarray

What is happening to the Blue House? Almost every day brings a new allegation about some staff member's involvement in corruption. We have had several rounds of charges involving the president's three sons, and now it seems to be the turn of his secretaries and administrative assistants. Even excluding earlier charges of bribery involving the president's civil affairs and security service personnel, we have had at least six different charges leveled at staff members just in the past month. The common theme is that those involved are secretaries working in the closest proximity to the president in protocol, legal, civil and political affairs.

Kim Hyeon-seop in civil affairs, Roh In-su in legal affairs and Lee Man-yeong in political affairs are alleged to have tried to cover up improprieties involving the president's sons or to have assisted the flight of others involved. The alleged role of a Blue House foreign press officer, Yoon Seok-jung, in a lawsuit against the president's third son, Kim Hong-gul, would raise suspicion whether he was a consular official or Mr. Kim's personal secretary.

Then there are those alleged to have tried to use their positions for financial gain. Lee Jae-man, a protocol assistant, is suspected of receiving millions of won in return for passing information about the president's schedule to Choi Gyu-seon, who was arrested on bribery and influence peddling charges. Charges against Lim Jeong-yeop, another aide, and the Blue House response are even more outrageous. The Blue House "explanation" is that Mr. Lim resi-gned April 1 and the 150 million won ($115,000) he is said to have taken was before he joined the staff. Statements like that only degrade the Blue House ?Mr. Lim came from the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation, which was effectively run by the president's second son, Kim Hong-up.

Blue House discipline has been lax before, as evidenced by a sweeper who was convicted of receiving 400 million won in bribes. But recent developments make you wonder whether the president's staff is a public organization or a disorderly mob. The opposition has called for dismissal of the cabinet. The Blue House must face the reality that the charges are no small matters. And President Kim must put his house in order.
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