Senators Call for Dow Jones Inquiry

Senators Jay Rockefeller and Barbara Boxer want Dow Jones & Co.’s special committee to investigate circumstances surrounding the hiring of Les Hinton

Last Updated: July 20, 2011 @ 4:45 PM

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have requested that Dow Jones & Co.’s special committee conduct an investigation into the hiring of former CEO Les Hinton, and whether any current or former executives had knowledge of or played a role in the phone hacking perpetrated by employees of News of the World.

“The American people need to be reassured that this kind of misconduct has not occurred in the United States and that senior executives at News Corp. properties in our country were not aware of or complicit in any wrongdoing,” the Senators wrote.

Hinton took over Dow Jones when News Corp. bought the company in 2007, and the special committee was created to assuage any doubts that News Corp. ownership would threaten the organization’s editorial integrity.

Also read: News Corp. Scandal Crosses Atlantic: Les Hinton Under Scrutiny

Prior to News Corp.’s purchase, Hinton had spent 12 years as chief executive of News International, which oversaw the now shuttered News of the World. He also oversaw an internal investigation into possible hacking and testified before Parliament that he found evidence of only one perpetrator — royal affairs editor Clive Goodman, who was sent to prison for hacking and has been arrested again for alleged bribery of police officials.

Though Hinton denied any knowledge of the hacking, he resigned his post last Friday because of the improprieties that happened under his purview as chief executive at News International.

Dow Jones & Co. released a statement later that that day stating “nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that today's resignation of Les Hinton as publisher of The Wall Street Journal is any way related to activities at The Wall Street Journal or Dow Jones or that any of the London offenses or anything like them have taken place at Dow Jones. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Boxer and Rockefeller seem to find this insufficient.

“We were surprised that the Committee’s statement appears to foreclose any further investigation, despite the fact that the former chief executive officer of Dow Jones and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal served as the top official at News International while illegal phone hacking occurred at its newspapers.”  

Also read: News Corp. Faces Legal Battles in U.S. Over Phone-Hacking Scandal

In the letter they ask the special committee both to conduct a broader investigation into executives at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal and to look further into Hinton’s hiring.

This is the second letter Rockefeller and Boxer have co-signed regarding the scandal. They previously asked both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to look at whether any hacking or bribery occurred in the U.S.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, part of the DOJ has launched an inquiry.