House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has refused repeated calls to investigate News Corporation over alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act tied to the British phone hacking scandal and allegations that the company hacked the phones of 9/11 victims’ families immediately after the tragedy. The investigations, Issa complains, would amount to “picking on [the] media.”
This morning, the host of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal asked Issa about the investigations and if his refusal to probe the company had anything to do with his personal trust in News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch — an issue first raised by ThinkProgress’ Lee Fang. When the host asked Issa if his relationship with Murdoch had anything to do with his refusal to investigate, Issa denied even knowing Murdoch:
HOST: I know you’ve been criticial of ThinkProgress.org that this is coming from, a liberal blog. But they do assert that this has something to do with you saying you trust News Corp. last year because you know Rupert Murdoch. Just want to have you respond to that part.
ISSA: Well, first of all, I don’t believe I said that. I don’t know Rupert Murdoch. I believe I’ve met him on one occasion. … I don’t know Rupert Murdoch. I do not trust anybody. My job is not trust.
In February 2010, Fang interviewed Issa about a potential probe into a Saudi Arabian prince’s large ownership stake in News Corp. When Issa said he was concerned about companies with foreign owners that may have “a different agenda,” Fang asked if that applied to the Saudi prince. Issa suggested that he trusted Fox because “I know Rupert Murdoch“:
FANG: Well what do you think about Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, he’s one of the owners of Fox News. He owns the largest stake in News Corp. outside the Murdoch family.
ISSA: Well, I know Rupert Murdoch so I would certainly say he signs onto Rupert’s agenda, not the other way around.
Watch today’s C-SPAN interview followed by the relevant portion of Fang’s 2010 interview with Issa:
News Corp.’s alleged violations of American law, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, are within the investigative jurisdiction of the House Oversight Committee, which is charged with investigating matters in the interest of the American people. But Issa said he isn’t going investigate the company because the Justice Department has already launched its own probe.