[Statement] We demand the immediate discontinuation of the National Assembly’s Special Activity Expenses
- 2018.07.06 (14:25:24)
We demand the immediate discontinuation of the National Assembly’s Special Activity Expenses
On July 5, the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) revealed the actual amount of provision of the National Assembly’s Special Activity Expenses to citizens and the press. Since the creation of the system in 1994, this has been the first publication of the funds’ usage. The National Assembly has been regularly paying its members 7-8 billion KRW each year, much like a “second salary.” Even if there had been no actual involvement in any activity, they have consistently been creating pretexts to provide the fee. The details of the expenditure have no connection to the Special Activity Fee and, in reality, it is unknown how the money was actually spent. The institution in charge of evaluating the national budget has been turning a blind eye to the practice of wasting citizens’ taxes. The National Assembly should be ashamed.
The National Assembly should repent. It took over three years for the institution to release the documents dating back to 2011-2013. They still refuse to publicize documents dated after 2014. It has already been ruled twice by the Supreme Court, once in 2004 and once in 2018, that the National Assembly is to submit the expenditures for their activities. Despite the court’s decision, the fact that the National Assembly is not conceding should be criticized as it consumes time without reason and is also a waste of human and financial resources. As it has been demonstrated by the recent publication of their fees, the argument that publicizing their spending will demean their parliamentary functions and perturb the pursuit of national interest is absurd and aims only to hide the unreasonable details of the National Assembly’s Special Activity Expenses.
Even after the verification of the Special Activity Expenses by PSPD, the two major parties still opine that the share of their wages should not be revoked but reformed. It is very disappointing. What the citizens demand is not just increasing the transparency of their Special Activity Expenses account. We assert that since the National Assembly is not an establishment which needs to investigate or to collect information, there is no reason for the Special Activity Fee to exist and as it has been exposed clearly that the funds have been absorbed between the members, the Special Activity Expenses must be immediately abolished. In 2015 when the ex-representative Hong-Jun Pyo admitted that he had used the resources for his personal living costs, the National Assembly promised to reform the system. However, it was brought to a standstill at an internal public hearing within the Special Committee of Budget and Accounts. The National Assembly should not ridicule the citizens once again.
As of such, the PSPD demand that the National Assembly act as follows.
Firstly, in 2018, they should immediately stop the provision of the special financial payment to its members, as well as all organizations relating to it. Parliamentary activities cannot be a condition for the Special Activity Expenses. The National Assembly and its parties already receive enough diverse legal and administrative aid and support. The Special Activity Expenses is a double support fund and a serious waste of the national budget.
Secondly, the Secretariat of the National Assembly should, without delay, officially inform the public of all expenses after 2014. It is not acceptable to selectively treat the information as non-disclosable and to incite further unnecessary administrative fees regarding the Special Activity Expenses even after the Supreme Court ruling. We insist on a transformative evolution of the National Assembly’s attitude.
Thirdly, parliamentary members who associate themselves with the Democratic Party and the Liberty Korea Party who received the largest sum of the Special Activity Expenses, should announce their will to return their acquisition and should lead the partisan opinion for the abolishment of the Special Activity Expenses. The 20th formation of the assembly members should serve as a motive for the National Assembly’s president, the negotiation body’s president, as well as each committee and their president to do so.
In addition, the PSPD demand that the National Assembly along with other governmental institutions release information about their inspections regarding Special Activity Expenses. During the past administration, the National Intelligence Service, the Prime Minister’s office, the Prosecutor authorities, and the members of the National Assembly have constantly received criticism or punishments because of their abuse of the Special Activity Expenses. The Special Activity Expenses should not be considered a second salary, a bribe, a financial source for living costs, for studying abroad, or for an office get-together, as an incentive or as condolence money. It is not just pocket money designated for any convenient use. The article in the Board of Audit and Inspection’s guidelines for evidence of payment of the Special Activity Expenses concerning the possibility of not submitting the confirmation details of a payment should also be revoked. It is an article which is misused to allow the omission of detailed evidence regarding the use of Special Activity Expenses and renders any internal control and surveillance impossible.
From this day onwards, the PSPD will continue its activity of protests alongside citizens to insist upon the abolition of the National Assembly’s Special Activity Expenses and to reveal its payment details of each member of the National Assembly. The National Assembly should realize that the citizens will not be tolerating this any longer.
* Statement [See/Download]