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Fewer Than 10 Percent of Public Stations Shared Lists

The inspector general of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will recommend that Congress work with the CPB to tighten its own rules regarding donor list exchanges between public broadcasting stations and politically affiliated organizations, he told DM News yesterday.

“I am recommending some strengthening of the statutes,” Kenneth Konz said. “There appear to be some gray areas in there, and I am recommending that Congress work with the CPB to change the wording and strengthen the statutes.”

His recommendations will be included in a report he will give to the House next week in which he polled the nation’s public broadcasters about their list policies and practices. Although he was still compiling the report, he said it appeared that less than 10 percent of the nation’s public broadcasting stations have engaged in list exchanges with politically affiliated organizations.

His report, however, will not address some legislators’ questions about whether the stations violated Internal Revenue Service rules barring federally funded nonprofits from participating in political activities.

Konz was asked to compile the report after some public TV and radio stations were found to have exchanged their lists of donors with politically affiliated groups. Rep. W.J. “Billy” Tauzin, chairman of the subcommittee, has said he would introduce legislation this fall barring such activity. The CPB, which distributes federal funding to the nation’s 1,058 public TV and radio stations, has since issued more stringent rules on the practice.

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