Bush reappoints discredited Tomlinson to broadcasting board

[Associated Press]

President Bush on Tuesday renominated the chairman of the agency that directs U.S. overseas broadcasts even though the nomination has been stalled in the Senate amid allegations of misconduct.

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson was nominated again as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and for a term on the board expiring Aug. 13, 2007. The board oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Marti, broadcasting initiatives in the Middle East and other nonmilitary U.S. broadcasting overseas.

In September, a spokeswoman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said senators did not plan to act on Bush's nomination of Tomlinson in January 2005 while a government investigation of his activities was under way. The law that created the board in 1994 allowed Tomlinson to remain as chairman until a successor was confirmed.

A report by the State Department's inspector general, released Aug. 29, said Tomlinson misused government funds for two years as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Tomlinson disputed the allegations in the report.

The U.S. attorney's office in Washington concluded that a criminal investigation was not warranted, according to the State Department report. At the same time, the report said a civil investigation related to charges that he had hired a friend as a contractor was pending.

Tomlinson signed invoices worth about $245,000 for a friend without the knowledge of other board members or staff, used the board's office resources to support his private horse racing operation and overbilled the organization for his time, according to the report. On a few occasions, the report said, he billed for the same time worked on both the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, on whose board he was a member until resigning in November 2005.

Three congressional Democrats - Reps. Howard Berman and Tom Lantos of California and Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut - have urged Bush to remove Tomlinson from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, arguing that there was no doubt that he had violated the public trust and the president's own ethical standards.

Tomlinson's tenure as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was marked by charges that he promoted conservative programming. Tomlinson said that public broadcasting shows were too liberal and that conservative views didn't receive equal treatment.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting directs federal dollars to the Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio and hundreds of public radio and television stations.

article originally published at http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/ap/2006/11/14/ap3175202.html.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey