[EDITORIALS]GNP should watch its stepThe prosecution announced the investigation result of a case in which the National Tax Service was said to be involved in political fundraising. Lee Suk-hee, the former deputy head of the tax service is charged with raising 16.63 billion won ($13.2 million) from 23 businesses in collusion with the Grand National Party during the 1997 presidential election. According to the investigation, Mr. Lee took a list of companies from the GNP and collected money from them directly or arranged their donations to the party.
If raising money through the National Tax Service happened, the GNP should reflect on its actions and then apologize to the people. Mobilizing the National Tax Service to raise political fund raising cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. But the GNP insists, “There is no precedence of prosecuting someone on charges of raising election campaign fund.” Seeking a political solution to the case would not be right. And the GNP’s claim that the investigation is political retaliation does not hold water.
We can no longer tolerate the old political practice of raising election campaign funds by illicit means. The GNP has long insisted that political intervention in the prosecution’s investigation should be stopped. If the party demanded the withdrawal of the prosecution because it will put the party in a difficult position, there will be an outcry from the public. If the charge is bogus, this can be proved in the course of the legal proceedings.
When an opposition party fails to abide by the law, it will find no place to take shelter. The GNP is in the position to demand thorough investigations into numerous political cases involving the ruling party, such as the secret money transfer to North Korea under the Kim Dae-jung government, the Nara Merchant Banking bribery case and the false accusations against Lee Hoi-chang by a ruling party lawmaker, Sul Hoon. The GNP should watch its step.
The investigation is not complete. Prosecutors should investigate whether Lee Hoi-chang was involved, who helped Lee Suk-hee escape overseas and what, if any, are the probable charges against others. Reflecting on the incident, political parties should enact their reform plans in a hurry.