By Jordy Yager - 07/14/11 06:00 PM EDT
A Democratic lawmaker is calling on Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to investigate allegations that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bribed foreign law enforcement officials and possibly hacked the phones of U.S. citizens.
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called on the panel’s chairman to investigate whether the U.S.-based company has violated U.S. laws and the rights of U.S. victims of 9/11.
The controversy surrounding News Corp. came to a head this week as one of the company’s best-selling British newspapers, the News of the World, was shuttered over allegations that employees bribed U.K. law enforcement officials and illegally hacked phones in pursuit of stories.
Braley said he was worried that U.S. citizens also may have had their cell phone records targeted, saying, “We owe it to the American public to find out if victims have been subject to criminal actions by News Corporation and its affiliates.”
Issa told The Hill on Wednesday evening that it was still too early to determine whether the committee would look into the issue, but that he would talk to his staff of investigators and counsels.
“Nothing is completely off limits, but let me look into it and get back to you,” he said.
On Thursday, Issa’s staff said they hadn’t had a chance to look into the issue yet and that in all likelihood they would wait until the rapidly unfolding fiasco slowed down and there were some hard facts to determine whether it warrants investigating.
Braley is the first lawmaker to call on Congress to investigate the issue, but on Wednesday Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and asked the Justice Department to investigate the company.
Also on Wednesday, Rep. Pete King (N.Y.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, was the first Republican to call for a probe when he asked the FBI to investigate allegations of bribery and wiretapping against News Corp.