What a difference a day makes: News Corp.'s scandal was barely on the congressional radar screen early in the week, but by midweek, investigation fever was spreading fast on Capitol hill. Four Democratic senators dashed off letters to Attorney General Eric Holder and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro requesting the Department of Justice and SEC investigate whether News Corp. broke any laws in the U.S. And now that Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has joined the growing congressional chorus, the call for the feds to get involved took on some extra, bipartisan heft.
"It is horrifying to consider the possibility that the victims of the 9/11 tragedy would be victimized again by an international newspaper seeking information about their personal suffering," King said in a letter he wrote to the FBI asking for an investigation.
King was referring to a report in London's Daily Mirror that journalists from the now-defunct News of the World may have tried to hack the phones of 9/11 victims. Lawmakers are also concerned about the possibility that News Corp. may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for a U.S. company to bribe foreign officials.
Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., the powerful chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, was the first congressional leader to make a public statement about the News Corp. scandal Tuesday evening. The next day, he and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., took it a step further, sending a co-signed letter to the DOJ and SEC. New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez also issued letters.
"Further investigation may reveal that current reports only scratch the surface of the problem at News Corp.," Lautenberg wrote in his letter to regulators.