Friday, June 17, 2005

tomlinson pays hoosier to monitor bill moyers

this modern world leads us to this very interesting nytimes piece.

Investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are examining $15,000 in payments to two Republican lobbyists last year that were not disclosed to the corporation's board, people involved in the inquiry said on Wednesday.

One of the lobbyists was retained at the direction of the corporation's Republican chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, they said, and the other at the suggestion of his Republican predecessor, who remains on the board.

The investigators, in the corporation's inspector general's office, are also examining $14,170 in payments made under contracts - which Mr. Tomlinson took the unusual step of signing personally, also without the knowledge of board members - with a man in Indiana who provided him with reports about the political leanings of guests on the "Now" program when its host was Bill Moyers.

secrets are coming out tomlinson's mission to conservatize public broadcasting. secret off-the-books lobbyists?

Corporation officials said the two lobbyists did not approach lawmakers but provided strategic advice on handling a bill last year that would have given public radio and television stations more representation on the corporation's board. The measure, which died, was opposed by the White House and Mr. Tomlinson but was supported by stations.

One of the lobbyists, Brian Darling, was paid $10,000 for his insights into Senator Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican who sponsored the provision. This year, he briefly served as a top aide to Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida, but resigned after the disclosure that he had written a memorandum describing how to exploit politically the life-support case of Terri Schiavo.

yes, this darling guy wrote the infamous terri schiavo "great opportunity for the GOP" memo. real stand-up guy. and if tomlinson hired the guy, and tomlinson opposed the bill he was hired to consult on, then clearly they were working to defeat a bill that the member stations all wanted, using CPB's money, and not reporting it to the board.

but on to the hoosier connection:

The inspector general is looking at contracts signed by Mr. Tomlinson with a man named Fred Mann to monitor the political leanings of "Now." The inquiry was requested by two Democrats, Representatives John D. Dingell of Michigan and David R. Obey of Wisconsin, after they learned about the monitoring.

Officials said the inspector general was examining whether Mr. Tomlinson, as chairman of the corporation, had the authority to approve the contract or the payments.

Mr. Mann, who was listed in the contracts as living in Indianapolis, could not be located, and officials at the corporation said they knew nothing about him.

googling "fred mann" indianapolis turns up 98 hits or so, but the only ones that really seem to refer to a hoosier mention a fred mann who lives in cloverdale and is on the indiana commission on agricultural and rural development (link to google cache because the actual link didn't work). i suppose that could be the guy, but i don't know why he'd be qualified to monitor tv content if his expertise is agriculture. it's probably not him. and i need to go to bed: no time for more googling right now.

still, if there's a naptown connection to a scandal at CPB, will our local media start picking up on the story soon? i suspect i know the answer, but wouldn't it be cool if the indy star or something tracked down fred mann & broke open that aspect of the story?

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