An awful audit

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An awful audit

Now that the 20th National Assembly’s audit of the government is nearly over, the new legislature came under attack. Though the presidential office awaits its audit, all suspicions involving the Mi-R Foundation, the K-Sports Foundation and President Park Geun-hye’s civil affairs secretary Woo Byung-woo are not likely to subside. The assembly also could not summon Choi Soon-sil, a member of the president’s inner circle, to ask if she peddled her influence on behalf of her daughter, not to mention Woo, who still refuses to appear at a questioning session.

Despite the public’s expectation of a rigorous audit of the government after opposition parties emerged as a majority in the assembly, the legislature didn’t manage to take a single step in the right direction. Due to uninterrupted mud fights between the ruling Saenuri Party and opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, the National Assembly could not audit as many as 100 government organizations.

Nearly all standing committees were focused on wrangling over whether to bring Choi and Woo in as witnesses. The legislature’s auditing of the government was originally aimed at improving national governance by correcting wrongdoings and uncovering corruption in the administration.

But the opposition camp was busy promoting all types of suspicions involving the Blue House. As a result, lawmakers lost a precious chance to deal with such urgent issues as the restructuring of our embattled shipbuilding and shipping industries, wealth polarization and unemployment.
The ruling party opposes the idea of summoning people involved in the establishment of the two foundations because it says all the allegations are groundless. The party also argues that a presidential secretary for civil affairs customarily has not been summoned to the National Assembly.

But that’s not the case. After a business leader’s remarks protesting donations raised for the establishment of the two foundations, suspicions grew over the real motive behind the creation of the foundations. As all those issues are linked to the Blue House, the public is increasingly suspicious.

After the audit is over, lawmakers will move to deliberations on next year’s budget. Without support from the two liberal parties, however, the government will have trouble running the nation. If the Saenuri Party wants to get our politics out of its black hole, it must make clear why the two foundations were created. Secretary Woo also must clear all the suspicions instead of brushing them off as a political smear campaign.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 19, Page 30

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