[EDITORIALS]Truth on campaign fundsIs this what it comes down to? First it was the Grand National Party confirming that it received 10 billion won ($8.6 million) in illegal campaign donations from the SK Group’s secret accounts. Now there is a claim that President Roh Moo-hyun’s campaign kept two sets of books of its campaign financing and assigned conglomerates to its members to solicit campaign contributions. The charge comes from a senior official with the campaign and another who is with the Millennium Democratic Party, so the Blue House would be hard-pressed to brush aside the charge as another groundless political attack. Mr. Roh ran as the party’s candidate.
The developments make it difficult to avoid a full-scale review of presidential campaign financing. There could be differences in the size of the collection of corporate funds and how the collection was made, but the developments confirm that no candidate was free from improper campaign financing.
The Millennium Democratic Party has also said that Our Open Party, which broke from the Millennium Democratic Party, took bankbooks belonging to Mr. Roh’s local campaign offices in Seoul and Jeju and all contribution receipt originals. Rep. Lee Sang-soo, now a member of the Our Open Party, denies that, saying he left all books with the offices. And why is he saying that there would be a lot of trouble if he makes the Millennium Democratic Party’s finances public? His comments sound as if he is threatening his old party to keep its mouth shut.
The Millennium Democratic Party should turn over whatever evidence it has to the prosecution instead of attacking Mr. Roh and Our Open Party verbally. The prosecution looks determined to get to the bottom of presidential campaign financing, so it should be left to do the job.
It has been an open secret that political parties went to conglomerates for money at every presidential and general election. Separate sets of books have been kept. And it has also been customary to keep the entire issue away from the public. Now, it is time for the political community to stop hiding the facts and come clean with the whole truth.