Influence Peddler-In-Chief Tommy Thompson Baffled By The Number Of Corporate Boards He Sits On -- Video

A 2009 Report Counted 42 Companies That Paid Thompson As An “Adviser,” Some Paying Thompson More Than $600,000

MADISON - As Tommy Thompson ponders entering the Wisconsin senate race, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is reminding Wisconsinites that you can’t spell Tommy without L-O-B-B-Y-I-S-T.  ‘B’ stands for stands for “baffled” -- the feeling that came over Tommy when he was asked how many corporate boards he is paid to sit on. These included some corporations he was in charge of regulating just months before as secretary of Health and Human Services.  

“Want to know how many companies has influence-peddler Tommy Thompson sold his political connections to since leaving public office?” asked Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate. “Don’t ask Tommy – he’s sold his political influence to the highest bidder too many times for him to count. Wisconsinites need a senator who they know will fight for them, not career politicians like Tommy Thompson who will fight for any special interest if they pay him enough.”

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

“How many firms and companies are you involved with?” a questioner asked Thompson during a press conference.

“That… Now, see… That’s sort of a hard thing for me to say, because a lot of them I do through the law firm,” Thompson replied. “So, you know. I may be on a board or advisory committee that is actually a law client of the firm. That’s, uh, that’s how I do it.”

One 2009 report by the government watchdog Center for Responsibilities and Ethics in Washington pegged the number of corporations for which Thompson served as an advisor at 42.  Thompson was hired to “advise” 42 companies in the first four years after leaving the Bush Administration. Some paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars for his “expertise." The Wisconsin State Journal reported that one medical supply alone paid him $615,674 to serve as an advisor.

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.

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]

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]