Senate Panel Won't Take Up Bush's Re-Nomination of Broadcasting Chief

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee does not plan to act on President Bush's re-nomination of an agency head accused of misusing government money.

A summary of a report by the State Department's inspector general, released Tuesday, said Kenneth Tomlinson misused government funds for two years as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. That's the agency which oversees the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other U.S. government broadcasting abroad.

Tomlinson is accused of overbilling for his time and hiring a friend as a consultant.

On Wednesday, Andy Fisher, a spokesman for the Foreign Relations Committee, said the panel had taken no action on the January 2005 nomination while the investigation was under way "and does not intend to now."

Tomlinson, who has denied the allegations, can remain in office at least until Congress adjourns later in the year. His future on the board beyond that was not clear.

Reps. Howard Berman and Tom Lantos, California Democrats, and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said in a statement Tuesday they were outraged by what has emerged from the investigation that they requested last year.

They said in a letter to President Bush that the results of the investigation left no doubt that Tomlinson violated public trust and Bush's own ethical standards.

"We urge you to immediately remove Mr. Tomlinson from his position and to take all necessary steps to restore the integrity of the Broadcasting Board of Governors," they wrote.

Tomlinson's term expired in 2004, but he stayed on under board rules which permit him to continue until a replacement is confirmed, Fisher said.

The White House has not indicated what it might do about the situation, Fisher told The Associated Press.

Berman and Lantos asked the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., to hold hearings on Tomlinson. Dodd asked the same of Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ill., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.