&#91EDITORIALS&#93Meaningless ‘disclosure’

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[EDITORIALS]Meaningless ‘disclosure’

Why did the Millennium Democratic Party create such a brouhaha by saying that it would disclose in full detail the campaign funds used in the 2002 presidential election? It is a natural enough question because they have not made public anything that was not public knowledge before. The party simply disclosed what it had reported earlier to the National Election Commission. We cannot find one case where the party came close to “confessing” as President Roh Moo-hyun called on political parties to do. It is strange, therefore, that the Millennium Democrats lay claim to better transparency of political funds; criticism of political maneuvering or public deception is what they deserve.
The question of political funds came to the fore when Chairman Chyung Dai-chul of the governing party claimed to have raised 20 billion won ($17 million) for his party’s use in last year’s presidential election. But the party says it raised 14.5 billion won, including the donations in piggy banks. More mind-boggling is the party’s claim that not one corporation splurged beyond the legal ceiling of 200 million won in campaign donations despite reports that the SK Group gave 1 billion won. The confusing discrepancies continue. Who would believe that the party collected only 7.4 billion won after personally visiting 100 corporations to raise money? Were there really no unreported donations?
The party’s white paper said it collected 7.2 billion won from citizens and 760 million won from piggy banks. But the party’s disclosure put the amounts at 5 billion won and 430 million won. The numbers keep changing. The party said it used 3 billion won to cover operational costs, but the chairman says he doesn’t know how it was used. What are we to believe?
Now the party is calling for “full disclosure” by the Grand National Party. What purpose would that serve if it also just repeated its filings with the election watchdog? How sympathetic will the public be toward such meaningless disclosures? The party should either own up in a “confessional” way or stop the shallow political offensive and cooperate with the prosecution.

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