A responsible ruling party?Rep. Sohn Hye-won declared she was leaving the Democratic Party (DP) in order to not burden the ruling party with the “malicious” attacks on her property holdings in Mokpo, South Jeolla. Her resignation, she claims, does not mean she is admitting to any wrongdoing and she vowed to take criminal action against media outlets trying to sabotage her career with “fake news.” DP floor-leader Hong Young-pyo stood by her at the press conference in a show of the ruling party’s support. The ruling party appears to be oblivious to public sentiment.
Suspicions about the sudden increase in the value of Sohn’s property assets — which jumped after they were recognized as cultural heritage — now becomes law enforcement’s responsibility to clarify. She is accused of illicit insider trading while serving as a member of the National Assembly’s standing committee on culture, sports and tourism, which can wield strong influence over the Cultural Heritage Administration. While on the committee, she purchased buildings and land along streets that later gained state recognition as cultural heritage. The purchases were hastily made under the names of her family members and close acquaintances. The number of assets that came under the ownership of Sohn and those related to her reached 20 in less than a year. How can the ruling party’s leadership explain her gobbling up 20 real estate properties under borrowed names when the government was imposing a crackdown on speculation by levying heavy taxes on property ownership beyond a single home?
The DP attempted to distance itself from controversial lawmakers by having another scandal-ridden member leave their post as a senior executive. Rep. Seo Young-kyo is suspected of calling in a judge to demand a light penalty on a defendant who was a son of her acquaintance. The defendant was accused of sexual harassment against a woman on her way home in 2014. Despite the gravity of the allegations, the party let the issue go without addressing them in a leadership meeting. These actions do not befit a responsible ruling party.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 21, Page 30