Dick Morris, Breaking Big Stories. Fred Thompson, Playing the Dirty Money Game

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Mother Jones loves exposing the Washington game wherein lobbyist children work with their lawmaker parents, a game that results in a shocking (shocking!!) rate of success for the lobbyists and lots of money spread around for all involved.

Today, with an assist with Dick Morris, we bring you a consultant son working with his presidential candidate father, with, oh yes, lots of dirty money…

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.

Undeclared candidate (I love that phrase) Thompson has been running a PAC since 2003 with the leftover money from his senatorial campaign committee. He began the PAC with $378,601 and did nothing with the organization except give that money away. Of the payouts, $176,000 went to Thompson’s son’s firm, $46,000 went to federal races, $35,000 went to “other political donations,” and $62,700 went to charity. Meaning over half of the PAC’s payments have gone to Fred Thompson’s son. One might even say this was a conscious effort to enrich a family member: a scam, in short.

Evidence of that theory lies in the fact that, as Morris writes, “it’s hard to find any evidence of bona fide work done by Daniel Thompson Associates for his father’s PAC.” Thompson’s PAC didn’t do anything that would require a consultant, except maybe write checks. Or find people to write checks to, a service that would hardly require a payout of almost $180,000.

Thompson is from an earlier era of congressional Republicans — let’s call them the pre-2006 era Republicans. They played fast and loose with ethics rules and campaign donations, and got slammed by voters as a result. It’s no surprise that the presidential frontrunners for the GOP are a mayor, a governor, and the strongest supporter of campaign finance reform in the country. Do they really want to add a dirty money man to that list?

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This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

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