[EDITORIALS]Nosamo’s tainted piggy banks

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[EDITORIALS]Nosamo’s tainted piggy banks

The “Lunar New Year holiday publicity campaign” that President Roh Moo-hyun’s supporters’ group, Nosamo, is planning to stage must be stopped.
Distributing “piggy banks,” as the group plans to do in this campaign, is an illegal activity for which the courts have already handed down some convictions. Nosamo claims it is meant to help people “give piggy banks to the candidates of their choice, not to specific candidates or political parties.” In other words, they say, it is not an illegal campaign. But this is nothing but demagoguery that makes fools of people. The whole nation knows which political party Mr. Roh supports, and that Mr. Roh has wagered his political future on the upcoming elections. Under such circumstances, how can anyone claim that the distribution of stickers reading “Let’s help the president do his job” is non-political activity?
Already the economy is being badly affected by politics, as the legislative election overheats prematurely. If Nosamo engages in illegal political activity, the presidential pledge to revive the economy and create jobs will be foiled. Ultimately, it is the president’s side that is committing illegal activities.
Nosamo says its reason for resuming distribution of piggy banks is “people’s disbelief in politicians because of illegal presidential election funds.” But this is a self-contradiction. Though cynicism was certainly deepened by the handing over of vehicles loaded with cash, the Roh Moo-hyun camp’s trick ― suggesting that its whole campaign fund had been provided by voluntary donations in piggy banks, though most of the money was collected from businesses ― also played its part. Wasn’t it disclosed that the amount collected via piggy banks ― 430 million won ($362,000), according to lawmaker Lee Sang-soo ― is only about 1 percent of what the Roh camp spent?
Nosamo must understand that the situation is completely different from before the presidential election. People once considered it a pure grass-roots organization, but it is now a powerful organization under the president. If it misuses its power, it will be in trouble ― in Mr. Roh’s own words, it will have commited a “foul.” Nosamo must stop this campaign immediately, and President Roh should not simply watch it with folded arms.
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