Senator calls for investigation of News Corp

NEW YORK Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:56pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A senator called for an investigation of News Corp following the telephone hacking scandal at one of its British newspapers, signaling the crisis could spread to the United States.

Senator John Rockefeller, chairman of the committee on commerce, science and transportation, said phone-hacking at News of the World raised "serious questions" about whether the newspaper's parent company had broken any U.S. laws.

"I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans," he said in a statement on Tuesday. "If they did, the consequences will be severe."

So far, the scandal has largely been contained to the British business of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. But News Corp is based in New York, and owns a clutch of prominent media properties in the United States, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and Fox Broadcasting.

In London, Murdoch and two top lieutenants have been summoned to parliament to answer questions next week as popular anger has spread over allegations that reporters spied on thousands of people, from the rich and powerful to vulnerable victims of crime.

Earlier on Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said he did not expect his agency to become involved in any examination of News Corp.

(Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Gary Hill)

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