Inspector General’s Response Deeply Disappointing, Say Reform Groups

Contact: Mary Boyle (202) 736-5770

Jeff Chester, CDD (202) 494-7100

Craig Aron, Free Press (202) 265-1490

Kenneth Konz, in a letter to Common Cause, Free Press and the Center for Digital Democracy, has refused to publicly release e-mails and other documents pertinent to the recently concluded investigation of former Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson.

Konz replied that after extensive consideration, he concluded that the public release of these materials was not necessary since he found no evidence of the White House improperly influencing CPB policy.

“The public deserves something better than filtered information,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “Surely the American people have the good sense to be able to read these e-mails and come to their own conclusions about whether Mr. Rove and Mr. Tomlinson behaved ethically and appropriately.”

“The Inspector General should stop stonewalling and let the public judge for itself the importance of the correspondence between Kenneth Tomlinson and the White House,” said Timothy Karr, Free Press campaign director. “The CPB needs to be an honest broker, both to the public broadcasting community and to the public it serves.”

“The Inspector-General’s duties are to the public–not to the CPB board, said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “He must make the secret report to the CPB board available to the public. If he doesn’t understand his role, he should resign.”

The three groups requested the release of the e-mails and other documents on Nov. 17 after the release of Konz’s long-awaited report that exposed extensive wrongdoing by CPB leadership. The inspector general’s report indicated the existence of the e-mails and documents, including e-mail correspondence between Tomlinson and White House adviser Karl Rove.

Konz also made statements to reporters that indicated 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.

Click here to read Konz’s letter refusing to make public the e-mails and documents to which his report alluded.{FB3C17E2-CDD1-4DF6-92BE-BD4429893665}/IG_LETTER_COALITION_12-13-05.PDF

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