The Korea Herald


Tough confirmation hearing expected for education minister nominee

By Jo He-rim

Published : Sept. 18, 2018 - 18:28

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A tough confirmation hearing is expected Wednesday for Education Minister nominee Rep. Yoo Eun-hae of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, as a series of reports have revealed irregularities.

On Monday, Korean broadcaster SBS reported that Yoo had nominated one of her supporters as a member of the Goyang City Council. According to the broadcaster, the supporter donated 5 million won ($4,450) -- the maximum amount an individual supporter can give a lawmaker -- to Yoo in August 2016. A year and eight months later, the supporter was nominated by the Democratic Party in April and elected to a seat at the Goyang City Council in local elections in June.

Rep. Yoo Eun-hae of Democratic Party of Korea (Yonhap) Rep. Yoo Eun-hae of Democratic Party of Korea (Yonhap)

Yoo immediately denied the allegation, explaining in a statement that while she was the evaluator, she was not aware the person she nominated had made a political donation to her.

“The district where the claimed supporter was elected is not related to Yoo. Besides, only two people registered to run for the district seat and both of them were nominated by the party,” the statement read.

Rep. Yoo is also suspected of falsely reporting her properties. According to data from the ethics committee at the National Assembly, Rep. Yoo reported that annual returns on her husband’s farming company, Nature Farm, were 20 million won in 2013. She reported the same amount of profit in 2014 and 2016.

The reported amount appears to be different from what her husband Jang An-sik mentioned in a media interview in 2013, when he said he expected annual sales of 600 million won.

Rep. Yoo said she only reported what her husband had told her.

A Korean media outlet also revealed that the two-term lawmaker violated traffic laws 59 times in the past five years. The lawmaker paid about 2 million won in fines, according to MBN.

On Aug. 30, President Moon Jae-in nominated five new ministers, including ministers of defense and education, and four vice minister-level officials, in his first Cabinet reshuffle since taking office.

The hearing for Lee Jae-kap, the nominee for employment and labor minister, and Sung Yun-mo, the nominee for the minister of trade, industry and energy will also take place Wednesday. The parliamentary hearing for Gender Equality and Family Minister nominee Rep. Jin Sun-mi of the Democratic Party is slated for Thursday.

The confirmation hearing for Defense Minister nominee Jeong Kyeong-doo was held Monday. The National Assembly is due to decide on the adoption of a confirmation hearing report on Wednesday.

By Jo He-rim (