Sunday, November 4, 2007

Criminal Past Of Thompson’s Co-Chair

Uh-oh. Fred Thompson’s campaign co-chair, longtime TN GOP moneybags Phillip Martin, has a criminal record, (guilty pleas for conspiracy, cocaine trafficking and marijuana trafficking), which the candidate denies knowing about, although they’ve been close friends for over 10 years. Heh.

I think we need to ask the TN GOPs new spokespeson about this. After all, Martin has been a close affiliate of the Tennessee Republican party for over a decade.

Meanwhile, Thompson Spokesbot Karen Hanretty says:
"Senator Thompson was unaware of the information until this afternoon. Phil Martin has been a friend of the senator since the mid-1990s and remains so today." Thompson communications director Todd Harris added that Martin was not subjected to the campaign's standard vetting process because "he's a longtime friend."

That’s so cute. In the good ol’ boys club of Washington politics, you don’t need to vet your wealthy friends and associates because as we all know, no one ever did anything wrong to get where they are. And everyone is always above-board and honest about their past. Isn’t that right, Bernie Kerik?

I’m remembering all of the handwringing and pearl-clutching over Hillary Clinton’s donations from Norman Hsu; she finally returned $800,000. I wonder if there will be the same shock and outrage over the cash infusion Thompson received from his close friend the drug dealer? A convicted drug dealer who owns a plane? (Not that I'm insinuating anything, of course).

Martin has been more than just a key fundraiser to Thompson, though. The use of his plane eases a major logistical burden stemming from the intense demands on presidential candidates this year for appearances in more than 20 states holding early primaries. It also may have saved the campaign at least $120,000, given that Federal Election Commission rules allowed Thompson to reimburse Martin for the use of the private jet at the commercial ticket rate until Congress changed the rules in September.

So. will Fred Thompson and the GOP return this money? Or is it another case of IOKIYAR?