Now, opposition is rolling in dough

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Now, opposition is rolling in dough

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In a dramatic shift, opposition lawmakers were more successful in political fund-raising last year, occupying eight spots on the top 10 list, a survey from the National Election Commission disclosed yesterday.

The election watchdog described last year’s fund-raising activities of political parties and individual lawmakers.

Because there was no election last year and an economic slowdown, the total funds raised by lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties dropped to 41.16 billion won ($36.62 million), 35 percent lower than that of 2008.

The 2009 figure is also the lowest since 1999.

Of the top 10 lawmakers who raised the most contributions last year, eight were from opposition parties: four from the Democratic Party and the other four from the Democratic Labor Party.

Democratic Party Representative Park Jie-won came in first, collecting 221.35 million won in donations. Democratic Labor Party Representative Kwon Young-ghil was ranked second with 203.64 million won and the DLP’s Hong Hee-deok ranked third with 199.51 million won.

The successful fund-raising performance by opposition lawmakers last year was a dramatic change from 2008, when the top 10 list was dominated by the Grand Nationals.

In 2008, eight on the top 10 were Grand Nationals, while two were Democrats, but in 2009, only two Grand Nationals were ranked, at sixth and 10th on the list.

Former Grand National Chairwoman Park Geun-hye, who was ranked first in 2008 by raising 360 million won, was ranked 81st in 2009, recording 154.7 million won.

While political contributions were concentrated on the Grand National Party in 2008 shortly after its victories in the presidential and legislative elections, lawmakers received donations more evenly last year.

On average, a GNP lawmaker collected an average of 143.4 million won, while a DP lawmaker received an average of 138.4 million won. A Liberty Forward Party lawmaker received 129.3 million won on average.

The highest average donations went to the two progressive political parties. A Democratic Labor Party lawmaker received 187.6 million won on average while a New Progressive Party lawmaker received 149.5 million won.

Meanwhile, the Grand National Party still has the most assets, the National Election Commission’s survey showed. The GNP’s assets amount to 45.52 billion won in 2009, while the DP’s were 2.43 billion won.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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