Angle ignored pending civil investigation in reporting on State Department inspector general's findings regarding Tomlinson

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

On Fox News' Special Report, Jim Angle misleadingly reported that Broadcasting Board of Governors chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson would not face any charges in relation to a report that found that Tomlinson had hired a personal friend as a contractor without the knowledge of the rest of the BBG board because "it turns out the friend he hired as a consultant had 35 years of experience with Voice of America." In fact, a civil investigation into Tomlinson's actions regarding the contractor is still pending.

During the "Grapevine" segment of the August 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, guest host Jim Angle misleadingly reported that Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson would not face any charges in relation to a State Department inspector general's (IG) report -- which found that Tomlinson had hired a personal friend as a contractor without the knowledge of the rest of the BBG board -- because "it turns out the friend he hired as a consultant had 35 years of experience with Voice of America [VOA]." In fact, while the IG report's summary stated that federal prosecutors had "determined that criminal investigation was not warranted" for unspecified reasons, the summary also states that a Department of Justice civil investigation into "[t]he allegation relating to the contractor" is still "pending."

Moreover, while Angle's report suggested that the allegations against Tomlinson were that the contractor lacked experience or was unqualified, as Angle suggested, the summary of the IG's report dealt instead with the question of whether Tomlinson had improperly hired and paid him. The report found that Tomlinson "requested the hiring of [REDACTED], a friend and a retired government annuitant, as a contractor," and that "the contracts were awarded without the knowledge of other board members and board staff." The investigation also determined that Tomlinson and a contracting official "signed invoices ... totaling $244,813.17, acknowledging [REDACTED] services were received and completed without [REDACTED] providing any written reports or supporting documentation to the [contracting official] that was required in the statement of work." An August 30 Washington Post article reported that Tomlinson has identified the contractor as "retired VOA employee Les Daniels," and explained that Daniels "received nearly $245,000 for unspecified services over a two-year period. Tomlinson signed the invoices for these payments even though there was no documentation that the work had been completed, investigators said."

The Post article also stated that this "accusation is similar to one made last year by CPB's [Corporation for Public Broadcasting] inspector general, who found that Tomlinson employed contractors without documentation, including a still-mysterious Indiana man who was paid to monitor the number of conservative and liberal guests who appeared on PBS talk shows." As Media Matters for America has documented, while serving as CPB chairman, Tomlinson hired Fred W. Mann, apparently the "still-mysterious Indiana man," and paid him $14,170 of CPB money to monitor bias on the PBS show NOW and other public broadcasting programs. Mann worked for 20 years at the National Journalism Center, an organization founded by conservative columnist M. Stanton Evans and currently operated by the conservative Young America's Foundation that counts Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund and right-wing pundit Ann Coulter among the alumni of its training programs. Tomlinson resigned as CPB chairman in September 2005 and from the CPB board in November 2005.

The BBG oversees the federal government's international broadcasting services, including VOA, Radio and TV Marti in Cuba, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Tomlinson was confirmed as BBG chairman in August 2002. In November 2004, President Bush nominated Tomlinson for another term as BBG chairman; however, the Senate has not yet confirmed him.

From the August 30 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

ANGLE: New allegations of wrongdoing against Kenneth Tomlinson, who heads the government's international broadcasting operations, such as Voice of America. The Washington Post reports a new State Department investigation found Tomlinson "improperly used his office, putting a friend on the payroll, and running a horse-racing operation with government resources," prompting several Democrats to call for his resignation. But no charges will be brought; as it turns out, the friend he hired as a consultant had 35 years of experience with Voice of America, and Tomlinson says the report concluded his focus on horses amounted to one email a day and two and a half minutes on the phone. Tomlinson named two of his race horses, by the way, after Afghan leaders, one for President Hamid Karzai, another for guerrilla warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud, who fought against the Taliban.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Jim Angle, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
Stories/Interests
Public Broadcasting
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