[EDITORIALS]Just the facts, pleaseThe Grand National Party began exposing charges against President Roh Moo-hyun’s close aides early this week, going on for four days so far. It is natural for an opposing party to speak up if they suspect any corruption. What matters here, however, is the credibility: The party appears to be recklessly publicizing allegations that have no merit.
The party has no investigative authority, thus no tangible evidence to back their allegations. It still needs to verify its claims. “Choi Do-sul, the former Blue House secretary, received 90 billion won ($75 million) from companies after the election victory,” the party claimed. “A large sum of illicit funds was transferred from the bank accounts of Lee Won-ho, an owner of a nightclub in Chungju, and his relatives to the Roh camp during the election,” the party also said.
Although Mr. Choi has supported Mr. Roh closely for a long time, the amount Mr. Choi is alleged to have received is too high to be believed. The party claimed that two business groups paid 30 billion won each to Roh’s campaign, but it has become a joke in the business community. It is also hard to believe that an owner of a mere nightclub gave billions of won in election funds.
It is possible that companies tried to bribe close aides of the president after the election and a regional firm may have provided election funds. Still, that does not give the GNP an excuse to air its flimsy accusations.
The situation has gone too far. “There should be philosophy, morality and facts when making a disclosure, but the Grand National Party supplies no facts,” said GNP lawmaker Chung Hyung-keun, a disclosure expert in the Kim Dae-jung administration.
Despite mounting criticism, the Grand National Party still decided to go ahead with its strategy. It is understandable that the party would publicize corruption charges to pressure the president to allow an independent counsel probe of his aides’ activities. But one of the GNP lawmakers reportedly rejected the request to expose on grounds that he lacked substantive evidence to accuse Roh’s aides. If so, the Grand National Party must stop its groundless allegations immediately.