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A handful of Democrats in Congress have Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in their cross hairs.
Although Democrats in particular may have a bone to pick with the media conglomerate that counts Fox News among its holdings, recent allegations against the company have also gotten the attention of at least one prominent Republican.
Rep. Peter King (N.Y.) has joined Democrats including Sens. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) to call for an investigation into allegations of bribery and invasion of privacy by News Corp. employees in the United Kingdom.
King, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is particularly concerned about accusations that reporters from News Corp.’s News of the World newspaper bribed British law enforcement officials to obtain phone records of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He wrote to FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday to request a probe.
“It is revolting to imagine that members of the media would seek to compromise the integrity of a public official for financial gain in the pursuit of yellow journalism,” he wrote.
“The 9/11 families have suffered egregiously, but unfortunately they remain vulnerable against such unjustifiable parasitic strains,” added King, whose Long Island-based district lost 150 residents to the terrorist attacks. “We can spare no effort or expense in continuing our support for them.”
King appeared to be the lone GOP voice to go after News Corp. on Wednesday, but the scandal exploding around the media company has drawn the attention of Members on both sides of the Capitol. House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith called the allegations of bribery and phone hacking “troubling” in a statement, but the Texas Republican stopped short of requesting an investigation.
“I am confident that the Justice Department is following this issue closely and will take necessary actions if they believe U.S. laws were violated,” Smith said.
Judiciary ranking member John Conyers said he was undecided about how to move forward on the issue, but he promised to take action in some form.
“I don’t know what I want; we’ve got to investigate first,” the Michigan Democrat said when asked whether he wants Murdoch to testify before his committee. “But the House Judiciary Committee is the perfect place for violations of federal law.”
Senate Democrats have likewise stopped short of calling for Murdoch to make a trip to Capitol Hill, but there is a growing movement demanding that federal law enforcement agencies look into the matter, which is already the subject of investigations by the British Parliament.