Sunday, June 19, 2005

Today's Sesame Street is Brought to You by the Letter "L" for Lobbyist -- And a 15-Grand Payout from the Corp for Public Broadcasting

Investigators are looking into $15,000 in payments from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to a pair of Republican lobbyists. The payments were authorized by two Republican members of the Corporations' board -- but never disclosed to the full board.

One of the lobbyists was an Indiana man who gave board chairman Kenneth Tomlinson reports detailing the politics of guests on Bill Moyers' "Now" show.

The lobbyists are identified as Brian Darling and Mark Buse. Mr Darling served a brief stint as legal counsel to Sen Mel Martinez (R-FL). He was forced to quit when it was learned he was behind a memo circulated to Republicans detailing how they could capitalize on the Terri Schiavo case.

Mr Darling was paid $10,000 in CPB funds for his expertise on Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT). Sen Burns authored a bill to give local stations more say on the Corporation's board. Both the Bush Administration and Chairman Tomlinson. The bill failed.

Board member Katherine Anderson suggested hiring Mr Buse, a former aide to Sen John McCain (R-AZ), to provide still more advice.

Both lobbyists say they never approached Congress members -- but only provided advice to the board.

The IG at CPB is trying to figure out how the Board's Chairman was able to authorize spending 15-grand without the board's approval or knowledge. (NYT)

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