New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who called efforts by people like Tommy Thompson to deny their lobbying for special interests as a “Washington dodge,” is now scheduled to campaign for Thompson.
Earlier this year, Christie attacked Newt Gingrich’s claim that he wasn’t a lobbyist since he was never formally registered as a lobbyist, “the oldest Washington dodge in the book.” (background below)
Secretary Thompson, who cashed in on his time in the Bush administration with a premier Washington lobbying firm, has used the exact same dodge in defending the millions he has made cashing in with special interests including drug companies, big insurance companies, big oil, and corporations that outsource American jobs overseas.
Thompson has refused to detail his ties to special interests and has kept his tax returns a secret, though every day new revelations paint a troubling picture.
On Monday, it was revealed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Thompson joined another corporate board in the middle of his run for U.S. Senate. The news report exposed the fact that while Thompson claimed he was working “pro bono” for a drug company, he in fact was again cashing in, and had received 75,000 stock options with a Florida drug company.
“Chris Christie was right when he said that people like Tommy Thompson are practicing the “oldest dodge in the book,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. “Tommy Thompson has cashed in on his connections working for an elite lobbying firm in Washington and now he is trying to deny he isn’t peddling his influence. The more we learn about how Thompson has cashed in, the more it becomes clear that he isn’t for Wisconsin anymore.”
Chris Christie: “It’s the Oldest Dodge In the Book… He Can Call It Whatever He Wants to Call It, But That’s What It Is.” In a Meet the Press interview, Romney surrogate Chris Christie said of Gingrich’s claim not to be a lobbyist, “The speaker, and I heard his comments just now, a strategic adviser, that is the oldest Washington dodge in the book. That’s because he didn’t want to register as a lobbyist.., He got paid $1.6 million. First, he said he was a historian, now he’s a strategic adviser. I mean, let’s be serious. It’s the oldest dodge in the book. He was using his influence that he obtained in public office to try to help them. That’s why they paid him $1.6 million. He can call it whatever he wants to call it, but that’s what it is.” [NBC, Meet the Press, 1/22/12]
Politifact: “Thompson Has Sold His Influence And Connections To Firms To Whom It Would Benefit On Capitol Hill.” In August 2012, Politifact Wisconsin reported: “On the other hand, it’s clear that Thompson has sold his influence and connections to firms to whom it would benefit on Capitol Hill, but did so in a way — as a consultant — to avoid having to register.” [Politifact Wisconsin, 8/10/12]
After HHS, Thompson Began “Using His Reputation And Government Resume” To Earn “Millions Of Dollars In Stock, Options And Cash.” While describing Thompson’s personal wealth, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2007: “Any way you cut it, Tommy Thompson is one rich guy. When he took office as Wisconsin governor in 1987, Thompson brought with him a portfolio consisting of fewer than 20 investments, none worth more than $50,000 – some less than $5,000 – plus some farmland and his Elroy law firm. By 2005, when he was leaving President Bush’s administration, he was sitting on a healthy state pension plus assets worth at least $959,000 and possibly as much as $2.5 million. Nine of his investments were worth more than $50,000, and three were valued at between $100,000 and $250,000. That was before he began using his reputation and government résumé to hook up with some 20 companies across the country, earning millions of dollars in stock, options and cash.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/10/07]
Ethics Watchdog Called Thompson “The Most Prodigious Corporate Advisor” Of The Bush Administration. An ethics watchdog group reported: “Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released Revolving Door, a first-ever comprehensive look into the activities of 24 members of President Bush’s cabinet. The most prodigious corporate advisor appears to be former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, who has worked for 42 different companies since leaving the Bush administration.” [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 1/12/09]
Journal Sentinel Called Thompson “Tommy Inc” For Cashing In As A Lobbyist. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote: “You could call him Tommy Inc. A year after leaving office as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tommy G. Thompson has assembled a vast portfolio of private sector pursuits, many in health care, where he capped his 38-year government career. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/26/06]
Journal Sentinel: Thompson Aimed To “Fatten His Wallet” As Corporate Advisor. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported: Thompson has made no bones about his desire to fatten his wallet once in the private sector. He declined to say what his new jobs will pay, but he noted, ‘I’m going to be well compensated.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/9/05]
While Thompson Was There, Akin Lobbied For An Array Of Big Oil And Gas Companies. While Thompson was there, Akin Gump’s oil and gas clients included Royal Dutch Shell, Sunoco, Chevron, Hess, BP, and Exxon Mobil, [Akin Gump et al client list,2011; Akin Gump et al client List, 2005]
While Thompson Was There, Akin Lobbied For Multiple Big Pharmaceutical Companies. While Thompson was there, Akin Gump’s clients in the pharmaceutical industry included Covidien, Cryolife, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Novavax, PharmAthene, Pfizer, Abbott Laboratories, and Akorn. [Open Secrets, Akin Gump et al client list, 2011; Open Secrets, Akin Gump et al client list, 2010; Open Secrets, Akin Gump et al client List, 2005]
The Journal Sentinel Reported That Some Of The Companies Overseen By Thompson “Have Faced An Array Of Troubles, Including Claims Of Making Faulty And Dangerous Medical Implants, Failing Grades From A Corporate Watchdog And Allegations Of Misleading Investors.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “Tommy Thompson has long touted his experience in the private sector, but some of the companies he helps oversee have faced an array of troubles, including claims of making faulty and dangerous medical implants, failing grades from a corporate watchdog and allegations of misleading investors.” [Journal Sentinel,9/17/12]
GMI Ratings Chief Research Analyst Paul Hodgson: “Either He Has Really Bad Luck Choosing Companies…Or He Is One Of The Directors On Company Boards Who Is Not Exercising Sufficient Oversight.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “‘Either he has really bad luck choosing companies . . . or he is one of the directors on company boards who is not exercising sufficient oversight,’ said Paul Hodgson, chief research analyst at GMI Ratings, a rating agency that this year gave failing marks to three of the six public companies whose boards Thompson sits on.” [Journal Sentinel, 9/17/12]
Thompson Spokeswoman Lisa Boothe Said He “Is Not Involved In The Daily Operations” Of Companies On Whose Boards He Sits. In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “‘It is important to note that as a board member, Governor Thompson is not involved in the daily operations of these companies,’ wrote spokeswoman Lisa Boothe. ‘Rather, his role, among other things, is to provide a strategic vision to these companies similar to the roles of other directors and officers.’” [Journal Sentinel, 9/17/12]
The Journal Sentinel Reported That Of The Companies Of Which Thompson Is A Board Member, C.R. Bard Inc. “Has Been Involved In The Most Controversies.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “The company that has been involved in the most controversies is C.R. Bard Inc., a New Jersey medical device manufacturer that posted 2011 earnings of $328 million on revenue of $2.9 billion. Thompson joined the company’s board in 2005.” [Journal Sentinel, 9/17/12]
Bard Disclosed “It Was Booking A $51 Million Charge To Resolve A Federal Investigation Of One Of Its Divisions.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “Bard disclosed in a January filing with the SEC that it was booking a $51 million charge to resolve a federal investigation of one of its divisions.” [Journal Sentinel, 9/17/12]
Bard “Agreed To Pay $184 Million To Resolve 2,600 Lawsuits Filed By Patients.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “Last year the company agreed to pay $184 million to resolve 2,600 lawsuits filed by patients who said a Bard mesh hernia patch – a device surgically implanted – caused a variety of serious problems, including bowel perforations and abdominal abscesses.” [Journal Sentinel, 9/17/12]
Journal Sentinel: “Another Product Produced By Bard And Several Other Companies Is The Subject Of More Than 5,000 Lawsuits, Including More Than 1,000 Against Bard.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “Another product produced by Bard and several other companies is the subject of more than 5,000 lawsuits, including more than 1,000 against Bard, said Henry Garrard, an Atlanta attorney involved in many of the cases.” [Journal Sentinel, 9/17/12]
Journal Sentinel: “Last Month, A Jury Awarded $5.5 Million To California Couple That Had Sued Bar Arguing Its Transvaginal Mesh Caused Chronic Pain, Sexual Dysfunction And Incontinence.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “Last month, a jury awarded $5.5 million to California couple that had sued Bard arguing its transvaginal mesh caused chronic pain, sexual dysfunction and incontinence.” [Journal Sentinel, 9/17/12]
Journal Sentinel: “Three Of The Six Public Companies That Employ Thompson As A Board Member Received ‘F’ Grades And One Received A ‘C’ Grade This Year From GMI Ratings.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “Three of the six public companies that employ Thompson as a board member received ‘F’ grades and one received a ‘C’ grade this year from GMI Ratings, which rates companies for their environmental, social and governance risks that could affect corporate performance.” [Journal Sentinel,9/17/12]
Hodgson: “Very, Very Few Companies In Our Universe Of 5,500 Companies Receive ‘F’s.” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “‘Very, very few companies in our universe of 5,500 companies receive ‘F’s,’ Hodgson said.” [Journal Sentinel,9/17/12]
The Journal Sentinel Reported Thompson “Was Paid More Than $1.1 Million In Cash And Stock Incentives From Five Public Companies Last Year” And “Was Awarded 750,000 Stock Options By TherapeuticsMD Inc.,” Valued At $3.40 A Share. In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “Thompson was paid more than $1.1 million in cash and stock incentives from five public companies last year, according to SEC records. In addition, this year he was awarded 75,000 stock options by TherapeuticsMD Inc., which in May named Thompson chairman. The pharmaceutical company’s stock closed at $3.40 a share Friday.” [Journal Sentinel,9/17/12]
Mark Borges, A Principal At Compensia, Questioned Of Thompson: “Could Somebody Be Fully Engaged If They’re Spread That Thin?” In a September 2012 Journal Sentinel article, Cary Spivak wrote, “Mark Borges, a principal at Compensia, a management consulting firm that deals with board issues, said the number of boards that Thompson serves on could be an issue. ‘Could somebody be fully engaged if they’re spread that thin?’ Borges asked.” [Journal Sentinel, 9/17/12]