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Ousted broadcasting official subject of inquiry-NYT

November 5, 2005

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kenneth Tomlinson, the head of the
federal agency that oversees most government broadcasts to
foreign countries such as the Voice of America and Radio Free
Europe, is the subject of an inquiry into possible misuse of
federal money and the use of phantom or unqualified employees,
The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Citing officials involved in the examination, the Times
reported that investigators had interviewed several officials
at the agency and that the accusations, if substantiated, could
involve criminal violations.

Tomlinson resigned from the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting board on Thursday after its inspector general
concluded a critical investigation into his moves to steer it
toward more conservative radio and television programs. He
remains a top official of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

The State Department Inspector General opened an inquiry
into Tomlinson’s work as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of
Governors last July after lawmakers forwarded accusations of
misuse of money. The lawmakers received complaints about
Tomlinson from an employee at the board, the officials said.

The paper cited people involved in the inquiry as saying it
involved accusations that Tomlinson was spending federal money
for personal purposes, using board money for corporation
activities, using board employees to do corporation work and
hiring ghost employees or improperly qualified employees.

Tomlinson declined through an aide to comment Friday about
the State Department inquiry, the newspaper said.

State Department investigators seized records and e-mail
from the Broadcasting Board of Governors in recent weeks, the
Times reported. And, it said, citing officials, the
investigators have shared material with the corporation’s
inspector general, including e-mail between Tomlinson and Karl
Rove, a close friend and top adviser to President George W.
Bush.

The content of the e-mail has not been made public but
could become available when the corporation’s inspector general
sends his report to members of Congress this month, the Times
said.

The inspector general examined contracts approved by
Tomlinson but not disclosed to board members, the Times said.
The contracts provided for payments to a researcher who
monitored shows such as “Now” with Bill Moyers for political
content, and payments to two Republican lobbyists retained to
help defeat a Congressional proposal to require greater
representation of broadcasters on the board.

The Times said the inspector general also examined the role
of White House official Mary Andrews in Tomlinson’s creation of
an ombudsman’s office to monitor the political balance of
programs.


Source: reuters



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