Probe of DP lawmaker over lobbying by guards

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Probe of DP lawmaker over lobbying by guards

The Seoul Northern District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday that it is investigating Democratic Party lawmaker Kang Ki-jung on his possible involvement in illegal lobbying by a security guards association.

The association has been accused of illegally lobbying for favorable legislation that would increase their pay. Kang received an appreciation plaque from the security guards association in August.

Kang, who recently made a graft accusation against Kim Yoon-ok, the first lady, admitted that he received the plaque from the association.

“I have no idea what the plaque was for,” Kang said. “None of the association members came to see me at my office.”

Prosecutors on Wednesday received a tip that senior members of the association brought cash and visited lawmakers’ offices in December 2009.

The prosecution said association members brought 5 million won ($4,515) in cash to lawmakers’ offices to win support for the legislation.

Last December, the National Assembly passed a bill that revised the law governing security guards, extending their retirement age from 59 to 60 and raising their monthly salaries. The revised law took effect in July.

Prosecutors also obtained evidence from the association’s closed online community, in which the association’s leader, surnamed Choi, wrote a message that expressed the need for lobbying lawmakers.

Prosecutors have noted that names of seven lawmakers who belong to the National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee were mentioned on Choi’s posting, and they are looking into whether the seven lawmakers were the association’s top targets, in addition to Kang.

Prosecutors believe Kang received about 10 million won from the association, and they are now looking into what the money was for.

Kang, who also belongs to the committee, jointly proposed a bill with DP Representative Choe Kyoo-sik and Liberty Forward Party Representative Lee Myoung-soo to revise the law concerning security guards in April 2009.

Choe and Lee are two of the seven lawmakers who are mentioned in the association head’s posting.

Prosecutors believe Choe received at least 50 million won from the association. In July 2009, Choe called the National Election Commission to inquire whether security guards could make political donations, according to prosecution sources.

“There’s nothing to comment on violations of political fund law because we don’t know the amount of donation money,” said an aide to Choe.

By Kim Mi-ju, Kim Hyo-eun []
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