[EDITORIALS]Uri Party needs to be openJang Bok-shim, a Uri Party lawmaker, is said to have allegedly bribed party officials right before the selection of the proportional seats allotted to each party. When she applied to be a candidate, she is said to have donated 15 million won ($13,000) to the party in addition to the deposit required for candidacy. Afterward, she allegedly gave away yellow jackets to party officials.
If that’s true, it is disappointing. Her actions only undermine the efforts that have been put into establishing clean political campaigns. Her case leaves the impression that bribery involving the selection of candidates by political parties is still practiced.
As the Uri Party conducts its own investigation into the affair, it appears as if it is trying to minimize the impact. Statements to the effect that the selection of candidates for the proportional seats cannot be influenced by money sound hollow.
The first step would be to conduct a thorough investigation. If money was provided without receiving a receipt, this could be a violation of laws regarding political funds. The donation of an unknown number of jackets is also a problem as candidates for the proportional seats are not allowed to donate anything. The most important thing would be to find the size of the bribe, if it exists, and its source. The fact that the money has gone to influential party officials suggest that there is something fishy.
The prosecution has said that it will investigate the case, but the Uri Party needs to find out what happened and provide the findings to the public. It’s the only way to minimize the damage to a party that has been preaching moral purity.
The special donation to the party does not fall under the scope of an official investigation unless it is proved that the money is illegal. Given the past corruption involving donations for party nominations, it is far from clear that an investigation would lift the cloud of suspicion that this case has over it in people’s minds.
After the National Assembly elections many lawmakers have been indicted or investigated. Among those are some that had to go through trouble for lesser charges than Ms. Jang. Considering this, we have to ensure that the facts come out, and that justice is delivered.