The Korea Herald


Senior presidential aide resigns over son’s job search blunder

Opposition parties urge Moon to apologize for continued scandals of his aides

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Dec. 21, 2021 - 13:38

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Kim Jin-kook, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, has resigned on Tuesday after his son was said to have used Kim’s authority in finding jobs. (Yonhap) Kim Jin-kook, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, has resigned on Tuesday after his son was said to have used Kim’s authority in finding jobs. (Yonhap)

Kim Jin-kook, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, on Tuesday tendered his resignation after it was found that his son had attempted to use Kim’s position to find employment, officials said.

“President Moon accepted Kim Jin-kook’s resignation,” said Park Soo-hyun, senior Cheong Wa Dae secretary for public communication. “There is no discussion on the successor yet.”

Kim issued an apology, saying, “Above all, I deeply apologize for causing concern to the people.”

“I was lacking as a father. I think it’s my fault that my son acted inappropriately,” he added.

Kim’s resignation came after local broadcaster MBC reported that his son had allegedly leveraged Kim’s position in applying for jobs.

In an application to a consulting company, Kim’s son wrote on the resume: “My father is Kim Jin-kook, the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs.” He also wrote: “My father will help a lot,” “I will tell my father to make this company’s dreams come true,” and “Trust me. I don’t lie.”

It is reported that Kim submitted the same job application to five companies, and all of those companies had contacted him for an interview.

The junior Kim explained to MBC that he later withdrew those resumes and was not interviewed for those roles. He said he later got a job at an IT company with a “proper resume.”

Kim said, “I shouldn’t (have done it), but I’m really sorry,” adding, “I wanted to get a job so bad.”

Kim Jin-kook said his son has been receiving treatment after he showed symptoms for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

“There’s no excuse for something that should not happen. I sincerely apologize,” Kim Jin-kook said.

The position of senior presidential secretary for civil affairs oversees national affairs through powerful agencies such as the prosecution, police, National Intelligence Service, the Board of Audit and Inspection and the National Tax Service.

All of Kim’s predecessors have faced criticism over various scandals, and have been embroiled in a series of allegations and speculations.

Particularly, former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, who served as the first senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, resigned 35 days after being appointed minister over various suspicions, including allegations of preferential treatment for his daughter’s college entrance exams and family investments in private equity funds.

Another former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, Kim Jo-won, resigned in the middle of last year due to controversy over owning multiple homes.

Opposition parties have urged Moon to apologize for the continued scandals of his close aides.

“These things cannot be dismissed as merely independent actions of an adult child,” said Heo Eun-ah, a senior spokesman for the main opposition People Power Party, in a commentary.

Hong Kyung-eui, a spokesperson for the minor opposition People Party, said, “From Cho Kuk, Kim Jo-won to Kim Jin-kook, they caused social controversy over their own or family problems. President Moon should apologize for hurting young people again over unfairness.”

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Park Beom-kye also came under fire for posting a message defending Kim Jin-kook.

After MBC reported on Kim’s son Monday evening, Park shared the article on Facebook, saying, “The reason I am posting this article is because of the confidence that Kim Jin-kook is transparent.”

His move drew criticism even from within the ruling party.

Rep. Cho Eung-cheon of the Democratic Party of Korea posted a message on Facebook earlier Tuesday, urging Minister Park to refrain from making private comments.

“At a time when political neutrality is extremely required ahead of the presidential election, it is very inappropriate for the minister to try to preemptively defend the private realm of Cheong Wa Dae staff based on personal confidence, which could lead to unnecessary misunderstandings,” Cho said.