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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF MURDOCH IV: Spitzer Slates Newscorp and Challenges DOJ

Yes, it’s working. The storm of outrage is crossing the Atlantic to Newscorp’s US base. As we’ve learned, the FBI have now launched an investigation into allegations of phone hacking by the Murdoch Empire thanks to the instigation of Pete King as I diaried yesterday. This is leading The Guardian and is featured heavily both on the the BBC, The New York Times and CNN.

Even Rupert himself is showing signs of flagging. He’s just released a rather dispirited, desultory but defiant interview in his own Wall Street Journal in which the main message really seems to be:

I’m tired.

Though many of you have been sceptical that the US public or MSM would pay attention to this, it seems some of the massive public revulsion here in the UK is beginning to transfer to Murdoch’s adopted homeland and commercial base – the United States.

But there’s more to this than just law-breaking: there’s Murdoch’s nefarious role in law-making.  

There’s a more dangerous law for the owner of Fox News, with prima facie evidence needing investigation: as Eliot Spitzer has just written on Slate [UPDATE] the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) makes US citizens liable for their practices overseas.

Bribery, illegal wiretapping, interference in a murder investigation, political blackmail, and rampant disregard for both the truth and basic decency. The behavior of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in Britain has shocked even his closest allies and cynical British journalists. The Murdoch empire is falling apart-criminal behavior and disregard for basic ethics having permeated its highest ranks…

So how does all this concern Americans?…… the facts already pretty well established in Britain indicate violations of American law, in particular a law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Justice Department has been going out of its way to undertake FCPA prosecutions and investigations in recent years, and the News Corp. case presents a pretty simple test for Attorney General Eric Holder: If the department fails to open an immediate investigation into News Corp.’s violations of the FCPA, there will have been a major breach of enforcement at Justice.

So Spitzer is laying down the gauntlet to Holder to do something about this, rather than avoid a confrontation leading up to the next election.

Guess what? Surprise surprise – maybe they saw what was coming round the corner – Murdoch has already donated $1,000,000 to the US Chamber of Commerce to lobby against this very law. The Guardian – a real guardian of British liberties in this important revolt – joins the dots:

Rupert Murdoch donated $1m to a pro-business lobby in the US months before the group launched a high-profile campaign to alter the anti-bribery law – the same law that could potentially be brought to bear against News Corporation over the phone-hacking scandal.

News Corporation contributed $1m to the US Chamber of Commerce last summer. In October the chamber put forward a six-point programme for amending the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, a law that punishes US-based companies for engaging in the bribery of foreign officials.

Progressive groups in the US have speculated that there is no coincidence in the contemporaneous timing of the Murdoch donation and the launch of the chamber’s FCPA campaign, which they claim is designed to weaken the anti-bribery legislation. “The timing certainly raises questions about who is bankrolling this campaign – if it’s not News Corporation who is it?” said Joshua Dorner of the Centre for American Progress action fund.

When it comes to what our former Prime Minister Gordon Brown described yesterday as the “criminal-media nexus’ this can’t be a coincidence, and from UK experience the connection between a financial interest, media presence and lobbying clout is where the real abuse of power lies.

Just to reiterate, after countless diaries on this: News International, across its stable of four newspapers, has already had two employees jailed for phone hacking, and now 4,000 victims have been identified, just from one employee. Moreover, News International paid millions in gagging fees to some of these victims. We have clear evidence, beyond phone hacking, of cover-up, suppression of evidence and money handed to police officers and hush money for litigants.

The FCPA Act, brought into law under President Jimmy Carter, and more strenuously enforced under your current President, is targeted against US Citizens and Corporations that bribe foreign officials

Newscorp is a US listed company. Both Rupert and James Murdoch are American citizens.

So I urge my fellow Kossacks:


And don’t forget that Murdoch channelled a million dollars in lobbying money to get this law overturned

(PS: haven’t even touched the extensive and multifarious UK news, but the Sergeant at Arms delivered a summons to Rupert and James Murdoch, who’d initially said they wouldn’t appear at the Select Committee of the House of Commons next Tuesday: now they will)


  1. HappyinVT

    affects certain people ~ with respect to the US it seems the potential hacking of 9/11 victims may be the straw that broke Murdoch’s proverbial back.  There is something sacred about those victims and you mess with them at your peril.  Even if no actual hacking occurred even thinking about it would likely be enough to do serious damage.

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