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Monday, November 21, 2005

 

KARL ROVE IMPLICATED IN CORP. FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING SCANDAL

Common Cause demands CPB to publicly disclose all evidence shared with its board
November 17, 2005: Common Cause has sent a letter to top officials of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, demanding the release of all evidence uncovered during a recently completed Inspector General's investigation -- including e-mail correspondence between ex-CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson and White House adviser Karl Rove. "This goes beyond the public's basic right-to-know," said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. "What's at stake is the public's confidence in the CPB to dramatically change course and regain our trust and confidence in this important American institution."

Statements given to reporters by Inspector General Kenneth Konz indicate that Tomlinson discussed programming and hiring decisions at the CPB with Rove and other White House officials from November 2003 to May 2005. According to Bloomberg News, Tomlinson wrote to Rove that he was "finding programs to balance the Moyers report" and working "to shake up" the organization and hire Republican staff. Konz described Rove's response as, "a cryptic encouragement, a congratulations." The White House refused to cooperate with Konz's investigation. Common Cause, joined by the Center for Digital Democracy and Free Press, said the CPB board and inspector general must immediately disclose all the information related to efforts to force programming changes onto PBS and NPR.
Common Cause calls for new leadership at CPB after report reveals ethical violations and 'political tests' in hiring
November 15, 2005: Common Cause on Tuesday called on Corporation for Public Broadcasting President Patricia Harrison to resign following the long-awaited release of a report that exposes extensive wrongdoing by CPB leadership. The report found that "political tests" were a "major criteria" in hiring Harrison to oversee the CPB.

Other findings of the report by Inspector General Kenneth Konz include:

Former CPB Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson "violated his fiduciary responsibilities and statutory prohibitions against Board member involvement in programming decisions" in creating the "Journal Editorial Report."
The report criticizes the secretive hiring of Republican operative Frederick Mann to monitor "Now with Bill Moyers" and other programs without authorization from the CPB Board.
While the report concludes the violations were primarily the result of Tomlinson's "personal actions to accomplish his various initiatives," it also identifies "serious weaknesses" in the CPB's governance system.
"The CPB must acknowledge its mistakes and act to restore public confidence, especially in the face of this critical report on Mr. Tomlinson's failures," said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. "We renew our call today for the CPB to be more transparent and accountable by making structural changes to better serve the public interest."

Click here to read the full response to the report by Common Cause and the Center for Digital Democracy and Free Press, coalition partners who also called for Harrison's resignation.

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