[EDITORIALS]Investigate them allThere is much controversy over the legality of the money President Roh Moo-hyun used in the 2002 Millennium Democratic Party presidential primaries. Mr. Roh told broadcast reporters Tuesday at a briefing, “Not only was it difficult to raise money, but we could not compete by keeping to the legal limits. I think we used between 1 billion won ($850,000) and 2 billion won.”
That was not the first time Mr. Roh had mentioned the funds used in his nomination quest. Last July, he said, “I was not able to compete in the party primaries within the legal limits.” He also said then that he had destroyed all the documents related to the primaries.
We believe that the truth about the illegal money used in party primaries should be unearthed. But Mr. Roh in Tuesday’s interview said he thought it was better not to look into the issues involving the primary elections because the nation is already agonizing over the issue of illegal money used in the presidential campaign ― and the economy is in bad shape.
That remark could be seen as an attempt to prod the prosecution into calling off any investigation of the primary election money. Instead, he should ask the prosecution to look into it fairly.
The Millennium Democratic Party’s Busan chapter, where Mr. Roh was once a member, is said to have reported to the National Election Commission that its total income for the two years of 2001 and 2002 was around 700 million won. Even if we assume that the entire 700 million won was used for Mr. Roh’s presidential primary campaign, the sum still falls short of the amount of money Mr. Roh mentioned during Tuesday’s interview. Where the remaining money was from should be discovered.
A thorough investigation of Mr. Roh’s money for party primaries would stop the criticism that the prosecution’s investigation is unfair. Among those competing for the Millennium Democrats’ nomination, the prosecution so far has investigated only Hahn Hwa-kap, and requested a detention warrant for him.
The prosecution will have to investigate Mr. Roh and Our Open Party’s chairman, Chung Dong-young, regarding their party primary funds, just like it did in Mr. Hahn’s case.