WHY Won’t Influence Peddler-In-Chief Tommy Thompson Say Which Special Interests He Sold His Political Influence To?

Questions Abound: How Many Companies Has Tommy Thompson Sold His Political Connections To? 40? 50? 100?  

MADISON - As Tommy Thompson ponders entering the Wisconsin senate race, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is reminding Wisconsinites that you can’t spell Tommy Thompson without L-O-B-B-Y-I-S-T.  Y stands for one question Tommy has refused to answer  – “WHY won’t Tommy Thompson say which special interests he has sold his political influence to?” Watchdog reports have counted at least 42 companies that have paid Wisconsin’s influence peddler-in-chief hundreds of thousands of dollars since leaving the Bush administration, but Thompson has time and again refused to disclose who pays him.

“Why won’t Tommy Thompson tell Wisconsinites which special interests he’s sold his political influence to?” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Friday. “Wisconsin minds want to know -- How much are Tommy’s special interest friends paying for a spin through his D.C. rolodex? There’s no question who Tommy Thompson would fight for in the senate – himself and the dozens of special interests who he’s sold his political connections to since leaving office.”

One 2009 report by the government watchdog Center for Responsibilities and Ethics in Washington put the number of corporations for which Thompson served as an “adviser” at 42.  Some of those companies were ones that he regulated as head of George W. Bush’s Department of Health and Human Services. Now, these firms pay Thompson thousands and don’t disclose what they pay him for.  

In a 2010 exchange, Thompson was unable to count how many boards he was involved with.  

This is just one of the many instances where Thompson got rich by trying to influence the department he ran for one of his new employers.  Earlier this week, the DPW blasted Thompson for joining a company that had been awarded millions of dollars in Department of Health and Human Services contracts while Thompson ran the agency and for joining one of D.C.’s most notorious lobbying firms.

Background:

Thompson Has Advised Forty-Two Companies Since Leaving the Bush Administration. According to a 2009 CREW report examining "revolving door" practices, Thompson has advised FORTY-TWO companies since leaving the Bush administration. [Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 1/25/09]

Thompson Quickly Assembled Largo Portfolio of Private Sector Positions. “Upon leaving his federal post in December 2004, Thompson quickly assembled a large portfolio of private sector positions, including partner in one of Washington, D.C.'s most influential law firms, board directorships on medical device and pharmaceutical companies he once regulated, and as an executive with Deloitte & Touche, a major federal contractor that provides health-care consulting services.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 11/16/08]

NO TRANSPARENCY: Thompson Refused to Disclose Clients, Works for 25 Health Care Companies. Thompson would not disclose his clients at Akin Gump, but says he works with about 25 clients as part of his work on the firm's health care unit. The firm, which also employs lobbyists, represents a number of health care firms including Johnson & Johnson and the insurance giant Aetna as part of their lobbying practice. Other types of clients do not have to be publicly disclosed. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/23/09]

Thompson is a Partner in Akin Gump, Where He Earned $1.1 Million In A Year And A Half. Thompson is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP practicing in Policy and Regulation, the Health Industry, and Public Law and Policy. [http://www.akingump.com/tthompson/; AP, 8/15/07]

Logistics Health Federal Contracts Grew Dramatically After Thompson Took Charge of Company. Since Thompson joined Logistics Health in 2005, the company has seen its federal contracting business skyrocket. According to OMB Watch, a nonprofit group that tracks government contracting, the company of 400 employees has gone from $19.9 million in federal contracts in 2003 to $104.8 million in 2007, including part of the first year of a five-year contract to provide health and dental services to military reservists worth an estimated $790 million. [Wisconsin State Journal, 11/16/08]