If conducted, it would be the first official investigation for the CIO on an incumbent lawmaker.
The anti-corruption watchdog requested the North Gyeongsang Province branch of the National Election Commission last week to send over related documents and other data on a main opposition lawmaker who was not identified, the CIO said Wednesday.
The request was made as part of a preliminary inspection to verify whether the case warrants a formal CIO investigation.
The lawmaker allegedly received 20 million won ($17,300) from a former municipal council member and her family members over four occasions, 5 million won each, from 2016 to 2017. The funds were reportedly in exchange for backing the municipal council member to win party support in her 2018 election campaign.
The Political Funds Act states that an individual can donate up to 5 million won a year in support of a lawmaker. The question was raised as it was suspected the council member split her support funds into four to supposedly evade law enforcement scrutiny.
An NEC branch of the lawmaker’s precinct reported the case to the prosecution for an investigation in May 2020, and the council member related to the case was sentenced to a fine of 12 million won in April.
But the prosecution did not indict the People Power Party lawmaker, as it took her explanation into account that she was unaware that additional funds were given by those associated with the council member.
The received funds were said to have been returned to the donors after the lawmaker became aware of the issue.
Since its launch in January, the CIO has been involved in a number of cases but has never directly investigated a lawmaker as a suspect in any cases. Yet the agency will not be able to indict even if they find enough evidence to do so, as the authority to indict is still in the hands of the prosecution.
By Ko Jun-tae (firstname.lastname@example.org)Internet Explorer Channel Network