The DP’s double standardsIn a weird turn of events, the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the government are demanding an investigation of a whistle-blower who allegedly leaked sensitive information on the Justice Ministry’s illegitimate travel ban on former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui in 2019. In Monday’s confirmation hearing for Justice Minister nominee Park Beom-kye, a lawmaker from the DP, Rep. Kim Jong-min, called for a probe into the “suspicious leak of secret information” after attacking the opposition People Power Party (PPP) for collecting such information from whistle-blowers to attack the government. “If they are not insiders of law enforcement agencies, such information cannot be exposed,” said Kim.
A senior justice ministry official in charge of overseeing exits and entries of Koreans and foreigners has joined the chorus by singling out a “prosecution-related official” as the whistle-blower. The senior official of the ministry is considering the idea of accusing the whistle-blower of “handing over a piece of secret information on investigation records of a suspect to a certain political party.” Justice Minister nominee Park sided with the official, promising to look into the lead-up to the leak if he becomes justice minister.
But such arguments do not make sense. If a whistle-blower reveals confidential information obtained while on duty, that’s not a violation the law. The law allows them to give such information to lawmakers. It is regrettable that the DP and a high-ranking justice ministry official have joined forces to attack a whistle-blower. Justice Minister nominee Park has been notorious for contradictory words and actions in the past.
We must criticize the DP’s double standards. As an opposition party, it praised whistle-blowers for their courage to expose corruption in conservative administrations. After taking power, the DP only embraced whistle-blowers who were on their side.
DP lawmakers went so far as to attack a Katusa soldier for “lying about Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae’s son’s legitimate vacation from his military duty” even though the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. When a finance ministry official revealed alleged corruption and abuse of power by the government, the DP questioned his motivation without affirming the authenticity of his allegations. Even when the prosecution is probing the suspicious travel ban on the former vice justice minister, the DP insists on transferring the case to the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials, which is yet to be established. That’s like demanding the prosecution stop its investigation. Moon once claimed to admire whistle-blowers. The ruling party should be ashamed of itself.