Just As I Thought

Under the radar, controlling Sesame Street

I post this because I’m certain that most people are unlikely to have heard about it or realize that it’s news at all.

White House nominates three for CPB Board; two are big political donors
Posted on Current.org, June 2, 2008
By Steve Behrens

A Hollywood attorney and a Florida educator, both sizeable donors to political campaigns, and a small-city broadcast journalist who covers elections but doesn’t donate, were announced last week as Bush administration nominees for the CPB Board.

The newcomers nominated May 29 are:

  • Lori Gilbert, news director of both KELK-AM and KENV-TV in Elko, Nev., would serve for the remainder of a term expiring Jan. 31, 2012.
  • Bruce M. Ramer, a prominent Beverly Hills lawyer and board member of public TV station KCET, would also serve until 2012.
  • Liz Sembler is director of Jewish studies at the Pinellas County Jewish Day School, a former chair of Tampa’s WEDU and now a board member of the Association of Public Television Stations, would serve until 2014.

Like many of earlier presidential nominees to the CPB Board and other appointive federal posts, Ramer and Sembler have given generously to political campaigns.

  • Ramer has given $57,000 to federal political committees since 1997, nearly as much to Democrats as to Republicans, plus $12,000 to national party funds for nonfederal elections, mostly to Democrats, according to reports to the Federal Election Commission.
  • Sembler has donated $28,800 to federal campaigns since 1997, more than $25,000 of it to Republicans, according to FEC data.

The White House also nominated two incumbent, Republican activist Cheryl Halpern and former Democratic Arkanasas governor and senator David Pryor, for new six-year terms.

The three newcomers would replace CPB Board members whose terms have expired, though observers could debate whether the Senate will take the time to hold hearings and confirm them during an election season.

President Bush has not been shy about using recess appointments, however. He could put the nominees on the board for a year if the Senate hasn’t acted before Congress adjourns in September.

Will Republicans maintain control over the CPB Board? The White House is required by law to appoint a bipartisan board, with no more than a one-vote margin favoring a single party, but it’s not clear how all three newcomers would be counted.

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