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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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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