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July 24, 2007

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DM via me

THOMPSON PAC CODDLES SON

By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN

Published in the New York Post on July 23, 2007.

What did Fred Thompson's son, Daniel, do to earn the more than $170,000 that his firm, Daniel Thompson Associates, was paid from his father's federal political action committee, the Fred D. Thompson PAC?

The records suggest he did next to nothing.

The elder Thompson, an undeclared presidential candidate, left the Senate at the start of 2003. He started The Fred D. Thompson PAC with $378,601 transferred from his senatorial campaign committee.

It's perfectly legal for a former public official to roll leftover campaign funds over to a PAC and use that money to support candidates. Yet very little of these funds actually went to candidates - the bulk of the money was paid to Daniel Thompson.

Daniel Thompson did not reply to efforts to contact him.

From the month the PAC started (April 2003), Daniel Thompson Associates began drawing a monthly retainer of $4,000 for "management consultant services."

In its first election cycle, the PAC made a total of only $18,000 in contributions to federal candidates and about $8,000 in contributions to Republican committees and non-federal candidates. So, the fund spent about 7 percent of its assets on candidates and elections in its first two years - and about 25 percent on Thompson's son.

The next cycle (2005-2006), the fund gave $21,200 to federal candidates and about $27,500 to non-federal candidates and party committees - and $84,000 to Daniel Thompson's firm.

To date, the PAC has paid $176,000 to the son's firm, $46,000 for federal races, $35,000 in other political donations and $62,700 to charity. The senator's son, in other words, accounts for more than half the outlays.

PAC funds can be used to hire relatives. In 2001, the Federal Election Commission ruled that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. could use federal campaign funds to hire his wife as his campaign manager. But Mrs. Jackson was experienced in running campaigns and raising funds and had worked on a congressional staff. It clearly wasn't a no-show job.

The FEC ruled that a campaign could hire a family member "at market value for bona fide campaign services."

But it's hard to find any evidence of bona fide work done by Daniel Thompson Associates for his father's PAC. Presumably, Fred Thompson made the decision about what money would go to candidates - especially since many of them were his former colleagues.

Maybe Daniel Thompson wrote the 20 checks a year that the PAC mailed out. How much time or skill could that take? Not $85,000 a year worth.

The PAC appears to have had no office, no phone and no employees other than Daniel Thompson. Minor amounts went for spot telephone and Internet bills, and for an accountant.

And the PAC did no real fund-raising. In its four years, it raised just $700 - two contributions from former Fred Thompson associates. All other income appears to have been interest payments.

The fund did pay a nearly $7,000 to Aristotle Publishing, a company that licenses software for Internet fund-raising, including a $1,000 licensing fee in the fund's last days several months ago. The initial fees were for "conversion, training, and support."

Interestingly enough, Daniel Thompson is now a professional fund-raiser for Lawson Associates in Nashville. According to the firm's Web site, he consults with clients all over the country to raise funds for non-profit groups in their capital and endowment campaigns.

Too bad he couldn't help Dad raise money, too.

Test

"The records suggest he did next to nothing." The statement is shortsighted and suggests the only work in a PAC is writing checks. There is a deeper reality of responsibility and that includes filing reports and accounting.

One might argue that the time required does not warrant the amount of money paid. My question is what is the price of liability? What is so conveniently left out in the previous comment is as the PAC's treasurer, any business conducted by the PAC leaves him open to personal legal action by the FEC and generally people are paid at a level reflective of skill and/or risk.

Lets put in context. Personally, I am an Advanced Certified Diver. But I would not become an underwater welder. Too risky. Applying the same rational, they work a couple of ours a day and make VERY good money. Is that wrong? No, risk and reward.

"And the PAC did no real fund-raising. In its four years, it raised just $700 - two contributions from former Fred Thompson associates." At this point in time he had moved on to Law and Order. Why would he raise more money if his intent was to work on the show and then retire? I suppose if he had raised money and then retired there would have been a fuss about that also. He said during his first campaign that he would only server two terms as a Senator so I don't understand where the issue of only raising $700 comes from.

One could then pose the question "Why didn't he just leave the money where it in his campaign fund?" Again, it was not his intent to run again so moving the money to another PAC for distribution would be the next logical move.

But as DM via me also craftily alludes to is the fact that Daniel is Senator Thompson son so it must have been some kind of special nepotism. Who would you trust most with your reputation? I trust family and my son's so I don't see a problem with this. He did not appoint his son to any government oversight committee while in the Senate or give him any cush Washington job that could influence legislation.

Did he have the experience? The follow-up question is did he really need to have it? I believe he had the support of the senior Senator Thompson to guide him through when needed so I don't think experience is an issue.

"The fund did pay a nearly $7,000 to Aristotle Publishing, a company that licenses software for Internet fund-raising, including a $1,000 licensing fee in the fund's last days several months ago. The initial fees were for "conversion, training, and support." I am in the middle of a small systems project and it will run almost 100K so the numbers are not out of line.

The argument could then be made that he used the training to help a potential new campaign. Wasn't that the purpose of the PAC, to contribute and help other campaigns? Additionally, I would think that he is not doing the accounting if he "consults with clients all over the country to raise funds for non-profit groups in their capital and endowment campaigns." Where would the time come from to do both?

But if anyone feels there was misconduct they could file with the FEC. It is an easy process and the FEC does all the work. My guess is that this would not get anywhere as there was no misconduct.

"Interestingly enough, Daniel Thompson is now a professional fund-raiser for Lawson Associates in Nashville." Again I am not so sure why this is so interesting. He had time to become versed on FEC guidelines, had the contacts as pointed out in the comment that he did donate to several Federal and non-Federal campaigns. If I spend a couple of years learning an area most people would not touch due to liability potentials and I liked it... should I then not pursue this as a career? I would like to know how many of us are not working jobs that we spend years obtaining experience in? Sounds counter intuitive.

Personally, I prefer to stick to topics that will affect all America if he wins the election.

Border Security, Government Spending, Military Responses, Economic Plans.

Sometime people spend so much time arguing tangential issues that the real ones don't get addressed. This is true of all Candidates and people who chose to not focus on the national issues that will touch us all.

Do I care if Kerry gets a $400 hair cut? He is wealthy enough so what does it matter? What would he do as President matters. Do I care that Giuliani’s has staff that had law issues? Not really, and I have told everyone in my organization to focus on the issues. I want to know what Giuliani would do as President. Will they cut with taxes, protect our sovereignty, build the economy, etc.

Richard Rios
Director/Chief Coordinator-California For Thompson
State Coordinator – FredHeadsUSA

www.californiaforthompson.com


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