[EDITORIALS]Where’s the money?“After taking over as chairman of the Millennium Democratic Party, I discovered 20 billion won ($17 million) in the party’s account had disappeared,” Chyung Dai-chul, a lawmaker now at the Our Open Party, said. It is shocking. Even through it is common for political parties to settle accounts carelessly to deal with tens of billions of won in illegal funds, the disappearance of such a great sum, if it is true, is a serious problem. The Millennium Democratic Party should conduct an internal investigation, and prosecutors also should intervene.
Political activities need money, so political parties have been demanding donations above the legal limits from corporations. Such practices result in the presidential campaign fund scandal, which is making the public violently angry. Many are calling for political reform that changes high-cost politics. Even if we tolerate it as an old practice, we can never tolerate the diversion of political funds to other purposes, especially to expand an individual’s wealth. How can the people who say that they are conducting state affairs for the public take donations from corporations for their own private purposes?
Recently, the head of the Central Investigation Department at the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office said that there is a politician who used his party’s funds to buy a house abroad and a building under his son’s name. It indicates that prosecutors have secured sufficient evidence of the misappropriation of political funds. Prosecutors should take this opportunity to thoroughly investigate the flow of political funds, sort out those who abused politics to expand their own wealth and expel them from the political world. Such a shameless practice will not stop at the Millennium Democratic Party. The party insisted that there were billions of won left at Mr. Roh’s election camp. There are similar rumors about the Grand National Party.
In addition, the current system, under which the election commission has no choice but to receive reports from parties, even if they make false reports, should be reformed so that the commission can conduct a thorough investigation into the parties’ accounts.