BBG chair’s up in the air

Tomlinson gets 2nd try

President Bush is evidently hoping a lame duck can still utter a GOP quack — and fast.

The White House renominated the embattled Kenneth Y. Tomlinson to continue as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees governmental broadcasts to foreign auds. The question is whether the Republican-controlled Senate Commerce Committee, which will review the nomination, can sked a hearing before Dems take over in January.

The committee’s calendar for the rest of the year is not yet full, but upcoming holidays and other demands will cut into available time during the transition.

A staunch conservative and a friend of partisan warrior Karl Rove, Tomlinson has been a lightning rod for accusations of political meddling in pubcasting. Last year, he was ousted from his chairmanship of the Corp. for Public Broadcasting amid allegations that he tried to impose a conservative slant on pubcasting. Tomlinson claimed he was only trying to correct a liberal tilt in PBS’ news and public affairs programming.

A recent internal report by the State Dept., under whose purview BBG falls, charged Tomlinson with, among other things, improperly hiring a friend as a contractor and using BBG time and resources for his horse-racing interests and operations. Tomlinson responded the charges were politically motivated and defended his actions as proper.

Tomlinson’s current term expires in August. Even if the Senate Commerce Committee rejects his renomination, he can serve until then, or until a replacement is named and confirmed.

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