Photo: Plaintiffs from People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy hold up a sign demanding disclosure of the names of those who work at the presidential office. Credit: Newstapa.
The Presidential Office Has No Org Chart. On August 17, in a lawsuit filed by a civic group, Seoul Administrative Court 서울행정법원 held that the Office of the President 대통령실 must disclose the names and job descriptions of the people who work at the office. The court found that the Official Information Disclosure Act 정보공개법 mandated the disclosure of the names of 288 staffers working at the Office of the President.
Since its earliest days, the Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열 administration has insisted that such information is confidential - a bizarre stance even by the standards of an administration not known for its transparency. What little information has seeped out about the presidential staff has often drawn controversy, as relatives of Yoon, former employees of First Lady Kim Geon-hee 김건희’s art curation business and far-right YouTubers were found to have been on the presidential payroll.
The litigation also turned up a surprising factoid. The plaintiff in the case, the civic group People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy 참여연대, demanded that the presidential office produce an org chart detailing the official job responsibilities of each individual employed at the presidential office. The Office of the Presidential replied that there is no such document.
It is a ludicrous response - even the lowest level of the South Korean government has a chart outlining the roles and responsibilities of each official, for accountability and allocation of work. But considering the Yoon administration’s approach to governance, it might not be an entirely surprising one.