[EDITORIALS]Probing campaign fundsPresident Roh Moo-hyun announced the direction he intended to take in the investigation into last year’s presidential campaign financing in a meeting with the media yesterday. The president’s proposal is a reasonable one that takes into consideration both public demands and the reality of politics.
The key point of the president’s proposal was to wait for the prosecution to finish its current investigation, and to appoint a special investigation team if the results are deemed unsatisfactory or unreliable. The JoongAng Ilbo has on several occasions emphasized that investigations into political funds should first be conducted by the prosecution. The special investigation team is always a supplementary option that should be employed only when the prosecution fails to do its job.
The president’s suggestion that the investigation should deal with the allegations of illegal campaign funds in their entirety and not just with single isolated cases was also in line with the public’s demand. Unless the allegations are covered thoroughly, even the investigation results that the prosecution presents will be subject to accusations of bias. This would also lead to further political bickering instead of self-reflection on past customs and the reform of the system. The prosecution should use this opportunity to restore the public trust in it and bring on the reform of ancient political sins.
It is our concern that the allegations over the campaign funds will shake an already troubled economy. President Roh was right in proposing that the investigation should be limited to political funds and not include other allegations of fund mismanagement of the firms involved, and that any secret money that was not a bribe should be overlooked this one time.
The vicious circle of blaming businesses when it was the politicians who demanded money first during the elections should not be repeated. The presidential campaign fund problem should not become the subject of political mudslinging anymore. The political sector should cooperate willingingly with the investigation, putting an end to this chaos and creating a new political culture.