&#91EDITORIALS&#93MDP must disclose finances

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[EDITORIALS]MDP must disclose finances

President Roh Moo-hyun’s news conference yesterday, in which he proposed that the governing and opposition parties simultaneously disclose their 2002 presidential campaign financing, is indeed disappointing. Given that the governing Millennium Democratic Party has decided to disclose its campaign funds first, it is hard to understand why he repeated in a news conference what he had conveyed earlier through his chief of staff. It is the party’s prerogative to detail its presidential campaign financing, which is not mandated by law. Any verification that a party registered the correct amount with the National Election Commission should be made on the basis of the law. Any fabrication should also be dealt with by the law. For the president to raise the issue now comes across as nothing but a political offensive to deflect public criticism prompted by party chairman Chyung Dai-chul’s “slip of the tongue.”
The first order of things is to sternly execute the law on bribery allegations raised against the party heavyweights in the course of investigation by the prosecution. Mr. Chyung should not hide behind parliamentary immunity privileges and should swiftly walk in for prosecution questioning. Changing the related laws to make it mandatory to disclose campaign funds and amend the campaign system can come afterwards. Demanding disclosure of the fund and its verification, disregarding such a process, puts Mr. Roh under suspicion that he wants to pull the opposition down with the ruling party.
The ruling party should disclose its campaign financing first, as these are the funds under scrutiny. If it comes clean first, public pressure will mount on the opposition to do likewise, which can naturally lead to a discussion to revise the Political Fund Act.
The one good thing is that the ruling party has decided to publicize the campaign funds gathered since its campaign headquarters was formed. We hope that the party truthfully makes public its funds rather than harmonizing its disclosures with the official statistics held by the central election body. We hope that Mr. Roh stops his political offensive and takes the right path on the matter.
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