Stop Mudslinging

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Stop Mudslinging

It is not a pretty sight to watch tripartite muck- raking ?the ruling party, the opposition and for- mer President Kim Young-sam over the truth about the alleged spy agency funds that financed the 1996 elections. The case has jumped in an unexpected direction with a remark by Rep. Kim Young-iel of the Grand National Party.

He said, iaThe money is likely to have been former President Kim Young-sam political funds. He should free [the Grand National Party] from the yoke. The former president immediately vented his anger, while the GNP and Lee Hoi-chang, its president, seemed at a loss, merely saying that the lawmaker statement was misguided. As if afraid to miss the opportunity, the ruling party is in the throes of fanning discord between the two sides. All are engrossed in political maneuvers without paying any attention to the public. We urge politicians to stop such actions and cooper- ate to get to the bottom of the matter.

It is true that from the outset this case had a strong whiff of politically motivated investigation with the goal of pressuring the opposition. As the probe unfolded, the opposition has been put on the defensive and its sharp attacks on the ruling camp have dulled. At the same time, Lee Hoi- chang and former President Kim Young-sam have been driven into delicate tension. With an outcome that smacks of what the ruling camp might have hoped for, we are suspicious of the real purpose of the investigation.

Nevertheless, we cannot gloss over the fact that questionable funds of 100 billion won ($78 million) were diverted. Regarding the true origin of this money, all sorts of assertions and conjectures are flying, ranging from the spy agency budget to leftover 1992 presidential election funds. Even if the funds did not originate from the agency, the question lingers as to whether they were legitimate. To eradicate politics of money, it should be determined what the character of the money was and how it was raised. The former president must know best about the 100 billion won. He should disclose every- thing and take due responsibility. Additionally, Rep. Kang Sam-jae should report himself to the prosecution and unveil the truth. It is the job of the general public to judge whether or not the case constitutes a political vendetta after the entire picture is revealed.
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