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Pubcaster probe of Tomlinson expands

Quick hiring of new prexy is latest focus

This article was updated at 4:29 p.m.

NEW YORK — Though Corp. for Public Broadcasting inspector general Kenneth Konz is already busy looking into recent moves by Kenneth Tomlinson, yet another investigation into the embattled CPB chairman’s activities has been added to Konz’s to-do list.

Responding to a request from Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Konz agreed Tuesday to expand his current investigations into Tomlinson to include allegations that the recent hiring of former Republican National Committee co-chair Patricia Harrison as CPB prexy “may have been rushed and conducted outside normal practices,” according to Dorgan.

Various interest groups and some Democrats have charged that political cronyism, not proper procedure, dictated the Harrison hiring. Tomlinson, a conservative Republican, and Harrison, most recently an assistant secretary of state in the Bush administration, have been friends a long time.

‘Significant’ complaints

“Complaints that the selection process was inadequate are significant and come from people in a position to know the facts,” Dorgan said in a statement. “I think such an investigation is not only appropriate but very much needed. We rely on the Corp. for Public Broadcasting to be a fair and unbiased steward for public broadcasting. The selection of its president should be beyond reproach.”

Konz is already looking into whether Tomlinson acted properly in hiring an outside consultant to monitor PBS programs for political bias, and in hiring lobbyists to help thwart possible legislation.

A CPB spokesman told the Associated Press he is confident that the Harrison investigation “will conclude that all of the steps taken with regard to Patricia Harrison’s hire were appropriate.”

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