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Ex CPB Chief Ken Tomlinson Lies to Congress

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A series of emails between the former board chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Kenneth Tomlinson and conservative commentator Paul Gigot indicate that Tomlinson lied to Congress. On July 11, 2005, Tomlinson said, under oath in front of a Senate subcommittee: “The decision to add Paul Gigot and the Wall Street Journal Editorial Report was one that involved a lot of people at both PBS and CPB. It was a decision that I saw no opposition to, and I was not directly involved in negotiating any contracts involved -- involving in it.”

Recently published emails from Tomlinson to conservative pundit Paul Gigot about their efforts to get Gigot his own conservative program on PBS:

Tomlinson in email to Gigot, December 4, 2003
“Paul – I understand PBS is going to be talking to you about assuming a role that will serve as a political balance to Moyers, I do not trust Pat Mitchell but I have a deal with others stipulating that you will have access to the same deal Moyers has. So do not accept if they try to toss you onto Moyers’ show as an after thought commentator.”

February 8, 2004 Tomlinson: “We have a deal that Moyers will be balanced this fall. We'll hold up her [Pat Mitchell's] money if she doesn't deliver this fall.”

February 12, 2004 Tomlinson: “We are close to a deal that would put Gigot/WSJ on public broadcasting. . . I realize God is in the details, but this is a real deal we can live with. But I don’t want to turn loose of CPB’s money or let authorization go forward until you have a show that gets everything Moyers gets except for time.”

These emails show that Tomlinson lied to the Senate subcommittee, adding to his three illegal acts uncovered by a recent CPB Inspector General report: Tomlinson using a political litmus test in hiring new CPB President Patricia Harrison, hiring two lobbyists to defeat an initiative to reform the CPB governance rule, and secretly hiring a GOP operative to monitor Bill Moyers’ NOW program for “liberal bias.”

Meanwhile public interest groups are demanding that the CPB turn over potentially damning emails between Karl Rove and Tomlinson, and for Congress to launch a full investigation of White House meddling. In a May 9 Los Angeles Times article, Tomlinson told reporter Matea Gold: "There has been absolutely no contact from anyone at the White House to me saying we need to do this or that with public broadcasting." But this week Konz reported that Tomlinson repeatedly swapped e-mails about potential CPB hires with "staff in the Executive Office of the President," including Karl Rove. One of the candidates they discussed became the organization's president.