By Alexander Bolton - 07/17/11 03:57 PM EDT
Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the second-ranking Senate Democrat, has called for congressional hearings and investigations of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to determine whether it employed illegal practices in the United States.
Durbin called for Congress to investigate the matter after British police arrested Rebekah Brooks Sunday morning in a widening probe of phone hacking and police payoffs by journalists who worked for Murdoch.
Democrats are suspicious that Murdoch’s media companies, which include the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, may have used illegal practices in the United States.
“I can tell you that there are questions about whether the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act has been violated by Rupert Murdoch and his news empire and what’s going on in England is startling,” Durbin said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Durbin reiterated Democrats’ demands that the FBI investigate possible illegal practices by Murdoch’s media companies within the U.S.
“We need to follow through with the FBI investigation and also with congressional investigations,” he said.
Rep. Pete King (N.Y.), the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has raised concerns about whether the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their families may have been subject to phone hacking by reporters or other unethical action.
The FBI has already launched a probe, according to media reports from last week.
Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.), chairman of the Senate Republican Steering Committee, said Sunday that Congress should stay out of the issue.
“We need to let law enforcement work here. Congress has got a big issue in front of us. We need to handle our own business for a change,” he said.