We'll take Tinky Winky in the fifth

More trouble for Kenneth Tomlinson, the former public broadcasting chief who never really went away.

Published August 30, 2006 1:00PM (EDT)

Kenneth Tomlinson resigned as the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting last year amid allegations that he had engaged in hiring improprieties and other misdeeds as he worked to push public television hard to the right.

Tomlinson didn't go away entirely, however. Nor, it seems, has he changed his ways. After leaving the CPB, Tomlinson stayed on as the chairman of the State Department's Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency that oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and other U.S. government broadcasts oversees. And as the New York Times reports this morning, the inspector general for the State Department has identified a new round of problems with his tenure there. Among them: Tomlinson allegedly steered a $250,000 employment contract to a friend and used his office, at least sometimes, to run his horse-racing business.

This might be the end, again, for a garden-variety political appointee. But Tomlinson has close ties to Karl Rove, and the White House says it's standing by its decision to renominate Tomlinson for another term as chairman of the broadcasting board. As for Tomlinson? He says he should have been more careful in keeping his horse-racing business separate from his government work but insists that the inspector general's investigation was the product of "partisan divisions" within the broadcasting board.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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