SEOUL, The National Assembly has provided ranking lawmakers with up to 60 million won (US$53,641) every month in the name of "special activity funds," and the money was spent like a salary requiring no proof of usage, a civic group said Thursday.
The People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), one of South Korea's leading civic groups, scrutinized data obtained from the National Assembly's Secretariat that details where its special activity funds were spent from 2011-2013.
About 8 billion won is set aside in the National Assembly budget every year in the name of special activity funds. The money is doled out to the speaker, the vice speaker and the chairs of the parliamentary committees as well as to leaders of major parties.
According to the PSPD analysis, the National Assembly provided the leaders of the parliamentary negotiating groups with 60 million won and the chairpersons of the standing and special parliamentary committees with 6 million won every month.
But there is no information on if the money was properly used, the civic group said.
"Parliamentary special activity funds have been spent without any oversight or control whatsoever because no receipts need to be turned in to prove its usage," the group said. "We must abolish this practice of wasting taxpayer money."
The parliamentary secretariat provided the data after the Supreme Court ordered it in May, three years after the PSPD filed an information disclosure suit. Up until then, the secretariat refused to provide such information, claiming the funds' usage should remain confidential.
Source: Yonhap News Agency