Thursday, August 31, 2006

Another Corrupt Republican

Seems the U.S. State Department has been investigating Kenneth Tomlinson, former chief at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Tomlinson was ousted last November after an inquiry found he had violated rules meant to insulate public television and radio from political influence. That inquiry also determined Tomlinson improperly helped the staff of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page win a $4.1 million contract to finance a weekly program on public television.

Tomlinson also was rebuked in the earlier inspector general report for improperly hiring an acquaintance to monitor several public radio and television shows for political bias. Tomlinson paid his acquaintance $15,000 to make a list of every guest who had appeared on the Bill Moyer’s “Now” program. The list was readily available on Moyer's website.

Since 2002, Tomlinson has been chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency which oversees the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other U.S. government broadcasting abroad. State Department investigators have concluded Tomlinson misused government money on several occasions, overbilling for his time
and funneling unauthorized contracts to a friend.

According to the New York Times:

[Tomlinson] used his government office for personal business, including running a “horse racing operation” in which he supervised a stable of thoroughbreds he named after leaders from Afghanistan, including President Hamid Karzai and the late Ahmed Shah Massoud, that have raced at tracks across the United States. They also said that Mr. Tomlinson repeatedly used government employees to do his personal errands and that he billed the government for more days of work than the rules permit.

The State Department inspector general presented those findings in a report last week to the White House and on Monday to some members of Congress. Three Democratic lawmakers, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Representatives Howard Berman and Tom Lantos of California, requested the inquiry last year after they were approached by a whistleblower from the agency about the possible misuse of federal money by Mr. Tomlinson and the possible hiring of phantom or unqualified employees.


The summary of the State Department inspector general’s report said the United States attorney’s office in Washington had been given the report and decided not to conduct a criminal inquiry into the matter. It said the Justice Department was pursuing a civil investigation that focused on a contract Mr. Tomlinson had awarded to his friend.

The three lawmakers who had requested the inquiry sent a letter to the president this afternoon urging him to remove Mr. Tomlinson from his position immediately “and take all necessary steps to restore the integrity of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.”


The heavily edited State Department report on Mr. Tomlinson’s activities at the Broadcasting Board of Governors did not specify the identity of the friend who received the improper contract at the direction of Mr. Tomlinson. Agency officials said he was a retired worker already on a government pension who was rehired by Mr. Tomlinson, without the knowledge of the board or any competitive bidding process, to work on projects for him. The employee was known by other employees as “the phantom” because he was often not at work, other agency employees said.


The State Department report said that from 2003 through 2005 Mr. Tomlinson had requested compensation in excess of the 130 days permitted by law for the post he holds. It said that he had requested and received pay from both the broadcasting board and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the same days worked on 14 occasions, but that investigators were unable to substantiate whether they were for the same hours worked on the same days.

Investigators who seized Mr. Tomlinson’s e-mail, telephone and office records found that he had improperly and extensively used his office at the Broadcasting Board to do nongovernmental work, including work for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and horse racing and breeding ventures. The material seized included racing forms and evidence that he used the office to buy and sell thoroughbreds.

Tomlinson is a friend of Karl Rove, so it's no surprise he's corrupt. Note that the White House received the report last week and did nothing. In fact, President Bush says he still supports Tomlinson's renomination to another term as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, whish is pending before the Senate.

For good measure, the Bush administration wanted the investigation findings kept secret:
...the State Department warned that making it (the report) public could be a violation of federal law.

Probably has something to do with the war on terra, national security, and whatnot. After all, taxpayers have no right to know how their taxes are being funneled to friends and acquaintances of corrupt Republicans.

Newsflash: JonBenet Ramsay is still dead.