Lane Hudson Delivers FEC Left Hook

Fred Thompson’s ‘Campaign’ Going Down?

Lane Hudson’s at it again. The former HRC staffer behind Foleygate just filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against potential presidential contender Fred Thompson.

In a what will no doubt prove to be an explosive piece, Hudson writes:

Fred Thompson is breaking the law and it’s time somebody did something about it. So, this morning, I filed an FEC Complaint against him. For far too long, he has been ignoring the letter and spirit of Federal Election Law for his own political benefit.

It is my contention that he has violated the ‘testing the waters’ exemption of election law. He has been presenting himself as a candidate for President, he has been raising large sums of money beyond what would be required to explore a possible candidacy, and he has signed a long term lease on a headquarters for his campaign. He has even spent advertising dollars, which are specifically prohibited by the law.

According to IRS records, the former Tennsee senator turned Law & Order actor has raised over $3,400,000, $625,743 of which he’s spent on advertisements, a long-term lease on a campaign headquarters and other not-so-exploratory activities. The FEC’s “testing the waters” provision clearly states that potential hopefuls violate the clause of they raise more money than necessary for a campaign. Via Hudson’s blog, News for the Left:

The individual raises funds in excess of what could reasonably be expected to be used for exploratory activities or undertakes activities designed to amass campaign funds that would be spent after he or she becomes a candidate.

Just so you get an idea of where Thompson stands compared to the official Republican candidates’ first quarter – which ended April 15th – earnings, take a look at this chart:
While these men have to disclose where they get their dough, Thompson’s “campaign” remains exempt. In one quarter, Thompson raised more money than Sam Brownback in both! (See Q2 funds below.)

Cash money’s hardly the only issue with which Hudson takes offense. The spirit of the law’s just as potent as the actual legislative logistics. Hudson cites another FEC stipulation and then explains:

B. 11 CFR 100.72(B)(3) — “makes or authorizes written or oral statements that refer to him or her as a candidate for a particular office.”

In a June 26 report by the Associated Press, Mr. Thompson is quoted as saying “You’re either running or you’re not running. I think the steps we’ve taken are pretty obvious.”

In a June 4, 2007 interview with Susan Page of USA Today, Mr. Thompson was quoted as saying “I can’t remember exactly the point that I said, ‘I’m going to do this, But when I did, the thing that occurred to me: ‘I’m going to tell people that I am thinking about it and see what kind of reaction I get to it.’ ”

In a July 12, 2007 report by the Washington Post, Thompson adviser Mary Matalin is quoted as saying “He has made up is mind” in reference to his decision about whether to be a candidate for President. As a spokesperson for the campaign, this serves as yet another indication of being beyond the allowable limits of current election law.

Surely if Thompson had “made up his mind” not to run, he’d stop spending his campaign dough and break the lease on his campaign headquarters, right? Apparently not. Just this weekend Thompson released a statement clarifying an erroneous CNN report. In that CNN piece, it’s intimated that Thompson endorses a federal ban on gay marriage. A revised statement insists Thompson’s for state rights, but not federal action:

Thompson believes that states should be able to adopt their own laws on marriage consistent with the views of their citizens.

He does not believe that one state should be able to impose its marriage laws on other states, or that activist judges should construe the constitution to require that.

If necessary, he would support a constitutional amendment prohibiting states from imposing their laws on marriage on other states.

For a man not running for president, he’s certainly tossing around a lot of hypotheticals.

Hudson’s move probably won’t destroy Thompson’s campaign. If the FEC finds it holds water and Thompson can’t argue his case, the politico will most likely pay a fine. One thing’s for sure: Thompson can no longer say he’s “testing the waters”. He’ll either have to come out of the campaign closet or close the door. Your move, Thompson…

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