Retired bureaucrats in Korea have long enjoyed the luxury of finding employment in firms and organizations that have direct links to their former posts.
President Park Geun-hye's first choice for new prime minister, Ahn Dai-hee, ran into trouble for that very reason, withdrawing his nomination last month after it was revealed he made some 1.5 million U.S. dollars as a lawyer in less than six months after retiring as a former Supreme Court justice.
President Park has vowed to end the era of cozy ties between bureaucrats and the industries and companies they regulate and has pledged reforms.
But the changes are not coming easily.
The revised Public Service Ethics Act of 2011 states that the government's public ethics committee must screen any former, high-ranking government official that wants to work at a company or public institution.
But the act exempts lawyers, certified public accountants, and tax accountants from the screening process.
There have been calls to close the loophole, but in a recent pre-announcement of revised legislation, the three groups are still exempt.
"The government needs to submit the revised Public Service Ethics Act to the National Assembly so that we can deliberate on it and make changes to the necessary clauses."
Opposition party lawmakers on the parliamentary public administration committee say they have been trying to have the clause removed, only to be met with resistance from related interest groups.
"Although President Park had vocalized a strong will to end the close ties between the government and the industries they are meant to oversee, legislation that would impose greater restrictions on the practice remains in limbo.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News."