Ruling party lobs new allegations against former Lee govt.

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 28, 2017 - 16:51
  • Updated : Sept 28, 2017 - 16:51
A ruling party panel raised fresh suspicions Thursday that the former conservative Lee Myung-bak administration conducted illicit surveillance on liberal mayors and governors, and interfered in elections and the personnel affairs of a public broadcaster.

The Democratic Party's panel tasked with removing past ills revealed a series of documents that appeared to have been produced by the National Intelligence Service and other state agencies under the Lee government from 2008-2013.

The revelations came amid an escalating political standoff over the incumbent Moon Jae-in administration's push to eliminate "accumulated ills" of the past, which the main opposition Liberty Korea Party cast as "political retribution."
Members of a Democratic Party panel reveal documents about an alleged election interference by the former Lee Myung-back government during a party meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul on Sept. 28, 2017. (Yonhap)

Among the documents were those concerning the activities of 31 regional administrative chiefs such as An Hee-jung, Song Young-gil, Lee Jae-myung and Choi Moon-soon who then led South Chungcheong Province, Incheon, Seongnam and Gangwon Province, respectively.

The documents, thought to have been written in 2011, classified some of the politicians as sympathetic towards North Korea and others populist or skeptical of the then rightwing government's policy towards the communist neighbor.

"Overall, these documents show the nature of a comprehensive operation designed to control them by antagonizing them," Rep. Kim Jong-min, a member of the ruling party panel, said during a party meeting.

The documents also put forward measures to "actively" control the figures in question through budget cuts and state audits, the lawmaker explained.

The ruling party panel also raised speculation that Lee's presidential office sought to offer direct or indirect support for his former secretaries running in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

They included Park Heong-joon, Chung Jin-suk, Chung Moon-hun and Hahm Young-joon, who served as Lee's aides for civil society, political, unification and cultural issues, respectively.

The documents pointed out that support for these former presidential aides was needed to ensure that they would play a role as a "safety valve" for Lee.

Some others indicated the possibility of the Lee administration's attempt at influencing the personnel affairs of the local broadcaster KBS. They mentioned "leftist activities" by some producers of current affairs programs and cited measures to handle them such as a "personnel reform."

Also included in the dossier were documents indicating that Lee was briefed on what appeared to be a blacklist of cultural and religious figures steeped in leftist activities.

"Former President Lee said he had nothing to do with any blacklist of cultural figures, but we have found crucial material that shows he had been receiving reports on the list since 2009," a party panel member said.

Following the revelations, Chung Jin-suk of the Liberty Korea Party accused the ruling party of carrying out a "shameful political reprisal." (Yonhap)