No need for a boycottThe National Assembly is displaying a disappointing image these days. Yesterday it refused to examine next year’s budget, citing the prosecution’s full-scale investigation into illegal donations to lawmakers by a private security guards’ association.
As we have repeatedly pointed out so far, scrutiny on the government’s budget should never be avoided for any reason, as it is one of the most pivotal functions of the legislative body. Moreover, the lawmakers’ shameful attempt to take advantage of their status to get away with their illegal behavior is very hard to accept.
Above all, any legislation that is promoted by outside donations is clearly illegal. The fact that the main opposition Democratic Party seeks to make the prosecution’s investigation a political issue exposes the party’s tacit acknowledgement of its wrongdoing. We welcome the DP’s decision to send its lawmakers under suspicion to the prosecutors’ office. However, we hope at the same time that the party will follow legal procedures as much as possible once it has decided to cooperate with the investigation.
No matter how deep-rooted the practice may be, splitting donations into small units to disguise the identity of the donor is defined as an illegal action by the lawmakers themselves. Of course, it would be difficult for lawmakers to tell whom among countless donors belongs to what civic organization. But if we legalize all donations short of 100,000 won, it would no doubt cause a mountain of problems. What if big companies or various interest groups decided to donate a large sum of money to lawmakers, but divide the funds into smaller donations to hide their identity?
Politicians criticize the prosecution for its “excessive investigation,” but the people don’t think so as they can hardly buy the lawmakers’ argument that the donations are in small units or that the prosecution’s investigation amounts to political persecution. The public will regard it as a sophistic and arrogant statement. As a result, the politicians should deeply reflect on what they have done.
It is fortunate, however, that the political arena has given us the impression that it has been gradually resisting the temptation of black money. The more they do so, the more they should observe the law and follow stricter standards. If the DP is engaging in political strife to protect some of its derailed members, it is the same as admitting that it is a group of corrupt politicians.