[EDITORIALS]Our Open Party’s dirty handsIt turns out that part of the money Our Open Party used in its creation was illegal money provided by a business conglomerate. The prosecution said it has a lead that Yeo Taek-su, a Blue House official, received 300 million won ($260,000) from the Lotte Group last August and delivered 200 million won to Ahn Hee-jung, an aide to President Roh Moo-hyun. The party also admitted that it borrowed 200 million won from Kim One-ki, a senior adviser to the party who received the sum from Mr. Ahn, and used it for key money for the party’s headquarters.
The party, which has always touted clean politics, claiming it is morally superior to others, now has no grounds for its claim. The time the sum was used was right after future party members split from the Millennium Democratic Party and right before Mr. Roh quit the Millennium Democratic Party.
It appears that the Lotte money was the group’s “congratulatory money” for Mr. Roh’s election, which means that Mr. Roh will never be free of the case.
The party had claimed that it was created by clean money, including bank loans ― 20 million won per lawmaker. We feel betrayed by the party’s hypocritical act. Also, we do not believe the party is entitled to denounce the Grand National Party for its illegal financing.
The party said it will deposit 200 million won with the court as an apology to the public, and move out from its current headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul. But we cannot expect any reform measures from the party if it keeps pretending to be clean and admits to wrongdoing only when it becomes controversial.
Our Open Party last November announced that the money used in its creation totaled around 1.4 billion won. But Grand Nationals suggest that the party used 8.6 billion won for 100 days after its creation.
We believe it will be the best for the party to make public all the money it used for its creation and make a public apology. Didn’t the party promise to release its income and expense records after audits by accounting firms?
If the party attempts to evade the current case, it may face an even bigger crisis. The prosecution will have to investigate, since Lotte’s money appears to be congratulatory money for Mr. Roh’s election.