[EDITORIALS]Confess on campaign fundsProsecutors have disclosed how a 10 billion won ($8.47 million) slush fund from SK Group was allegedly delivered to Representative Choi Don-woong of the Grand National Party. According to the prosecution, 20 shopping bags filled with 100 million won each were delivered to Mr. Choi in the basement garage of his apartment building, and the money was loaded into the trunk of another car parked there. Such deliveries took place five times. It is a familiar scene in movies on organized crime or gangsters. We can see that such clandestine money could not be used officially as presidential campaign funds. If the party tries to gloss over the situation, it has no future.
The party leadership under Choe Byung-yul is apparently different from that under Lee Hoi-chang or former party president Suh Chung-won. Still, it is not acceptable that the present leadership maintains that it does not know anything at all, leaving everything to the prosecution. It is hard to think that SK Group donated money not for the party, but only for Mr. Lee. Moreover, those involved in the flow of money are the people in the party. The public will see them all as one and the same group.
There is only one path the party can choose. Aside from the prosecution’s investigation, the party must come forward to verify the truth. Not only the SK slush fund, but also funds from other businesses should be included. On the basis of this, the party must reform itself and pledge not to repeat past wrongdoings. If not, the GNP will never win people’s confidence back.
We think it is necessary for politicians to consider President Roh Moo-hyun ’s proposal to “confess about presidential campaign funds.” It is time for politicians to consult on the way to make confessions, to verify them and how to settle them legally. In the early stages of the Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung administrations, there were discussions on making confessions, but they were foiled because of the then-ruling parties’ objections. Illegal presidential campaign funds will disappear only when we declare their end by making them public.