[EDITORIALS]Funds law change can waitWith suspicion about the governing Millennium Democratic Party’s campaign funds for the 2002 presidential election deepening in the wake of party chairman Chyung Dai-chul’s comment about collecting 20 billion won ($17 million) from corporations, President Roh Moo-hyun has spoken out about the need to revise the Political Funds Act. He said that the existing law makes it difficult for politicians to be clean, and should be revised. At first glance, the president’s claim sounds relevant, but it is only an attempt to gloss over the heart of the issue. Revising the law is an issue that should be debated after the truth is found.
Truth is a much-desired commodity here, particularly since the governing party and the Blue House have been sounding different notes. Chairman Chyung and MDP secretary-general Lee Sang-soo are saying two different things. We are seeing one person change his words in the span of a day or two. The numbers cited by the National Election Commission, the party’s books and the party’s White Paper for the election are all different. So which one are we supposed to believe? For example, the amount of voluntary donations from grass-roots supporters, touted by the party as demonstrating popular support for its campaign, is given as 7.2 billion won in the White Paper, 5 billion won by Mr. Lee and 4.4 billion won by the party’s secretariat. Now they say that only 400 million won was collected through the piggy banks, and the rest online. On corporate political donations, Mr. Chyung says that the figure is 20 billion won; Mr. Lee says 12 billion won.
Casting light on the need to revise the Political Funds Act therefore amplifies the suspicion. Chairman Chyung should appear before the prosecution to disclose the truth. President Roh has said that all politicians, including himself, are subject to questions concerning political funds, and if the opportunity arose he would be the first to tell the truth. We believe that opportune time is now. Amendment of the law should be based on getting the real picture. The law can be revised afterward.