A Senate committee said yesterday it would not vote this year on another term for Kenneth Tomlinson as Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, following a government report that said he used the office for personal gain. President Last year President George W Bush nominated Tomlinson to a second term. However, the Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee will not take up his nomination this year, panel spokesman Andy Fisher told Reuters. Democrats in Congress have demanded Bush fire Tomlinson.
“We’re not going to schedule it for the remainder of the year, and at that point it (the nomination) expires,” he said. His term expired in 2004, but he is able to remain in office until Congress adjourns sometime later this year. Bush could bypass Congress and install Tomlinson to another term using a so-called recess appointment. A White House spokeswoman and State Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the committee’s plans.
The State Department inspector general said in a summary report to Democrats in Congress that Tomlinson used the office in “support of his horse racing operation” and that he directed his staff to work on unrelated business and personal matters. Tomlinson also requested a friend be hired as a contractor and signed invoices paying that person almost $250,000 without providing reports or supporting documentation, said the summary which was released by Democrats on Tuesday.
The Justice Department’s civil division is reviewing the allegation about the contractor, but the US Attorney’s office in Washington, DC decided against pursuing a criminal investigation of Tomlinson’s actions, according to the report.
Tomlinson, 62, who resigned his position on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting last year after criticism about injecting politics into the organization, rejected the inspector general’s report in a written statement. ”I am confident that I spent far more time on broadcasting responsibilities at my farm and my private residences than I spent on my horses at the office,” Tomlinson said, adding that he sent an average of one e-mail a day on his personal work. ”In retrospect, I should have been more careful in this regard,” he said in the statement. He also defended the work of Les Daniels, the friend referred to in the inspector general’s summary and who was a former Voice of America employee. Tomlinson was not immediately available for comment about the Senate committee’s decision.
The White House said Bush backed Tomlinson for another term on the board. He was confirmed by the Senate in 2002 for his first term. ”The president continues to support his nomination,” said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore.”