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Embattled head of U.S. government overseas broadcasting agency submits resignation

Embattled head of U.S. government overseas broadcasting agency submits resignation

The chairman of the agency that directs U.S. overseas broadcasts has asked President George W. Bush not to re-nominate him to the position, a move seen as largely a formality since his pending nomination was already stalled in the Senate and was unlikely to fare any better now that Democrats control the chamber.
Bush nominated Kenneth Y. Tomlinson to another term on the Broadcasting Board of Governors last Nov. 14, after the midterm elections, but that nomination has not been taken up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that oversees the agency.
The board oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Marti, broadcasting initiatives in the Middle East and other nonmilitary U.S. broadcasting overseas.
The law that created the board in 1994 allows Tomlinson to remain as chairman until a successor is confirmed. In a letter to Bush dated Jan. 9 and posted on the board's Internet site, he asked the president not to resubmit his name and said he would serve until a successor is confirmed.
Tomlinson thanked Bush for "repeatedly submitting my name ... for reconfirmation to this position. However, I have concluded that it would be far more constructive to write a book about my experiences rather than to seek to continue government service."
A report by the State Department's inspector general, released Aug. 29, said Tomlinson misused government funds for two years as chairman of the board. Tomlinson disputed the allegations in the report.
The U.S. attorney's office in Washington concluded that a criminal investigation was not warranted, according to the State Department report. At the same time, the report said a civil investigation related to charges that he had hired a friend as a contractor was pending.
Tomlinson signed invoices worth about $245,000 (euro188,635) for a friend without the knowledge of other board members or staff, used the board's office resources to support his private horse racing operation and overbilled the organization for his time, according to the report.
In late 2005, he was essentially ousted from the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after charges he used the position to promoted conservative programming. Tomlinson said that public broadcasting shows were too liberal and that conservative views did not receive equal treatment.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting directs federal dollars to the Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio and hundreds of public radio and television stations.
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On the Net:
http://www.bbg.gov