Congress is starting to weigh in on Murdochgate, following speculative reports in London's Daily Mirror that the News Corp. phone hacking practices in the U.K. may have extended to 9/11 victims.
But rather than suggest that Congress hold hearings to look it, Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, which would have oversight over the matter, issued a statement calling on others to investigate the scandal.
"I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated," Rockefeller said in a statement. "I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans. If they did, the consequences will be severe."
Rockefeller's announcement echoes Think Progress, a project of former President Clinton chief of staff John Podesta's Center for American Progress, which earlier in the day started a petition calling for an investigation and sent letters to Attorney General Eric Holder and SEC Chair Mary Shapiro "demanding a full and immediate investigation into any potential illegal acts by News Corporation and their subsidies." Rockefeller's announcement also taps in to the larger concerns about privacy that have been a hot topic in Congress this year.
Though some have suggested that the Federal Communications Commission get involved, that is unlikely to happen any time soon. "That's a U.K. process and I don't expect we will be involved in that," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told reporters following the commission's monthly meeting Tuesday. "The media bureau here will do their job should any issue arise."
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, added his voice to Rockefeller's Wednesday morning, urging DOJ and SEC to examine whether or not U.S.-based News Corp. violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for a U.S. company to pay foreign officials to obtain or retain business. "Further investigation may reveal that current reports only scratch the surface of the problem at News Corporation," Lautenberg wrote in his letter to regulators.