Thompson Already in Race, Blogger Complains to FEC

Former U.S. senator Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), left, visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Friday. Supporter Mark Wampler holds a sign urging him to make his presidential bid official.
Former U.S. senator Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), left, visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Friday. Supporter Mark Wampler holds a sign urging him to make his presidential bid official. (By M. Spencer Green -- Associated Press)

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NOT AN ACT

Thompson Already in Race, Blogger Complains to FEC

Fred Thompson has been "testing the waters" for weeks, operating officially as a non-candidate but seeming very candidate-like indeed. Trips to New Hampshire. Speeches. Even a howdy at the Iowa State Fair. Now it may have caught up to him.

Lane Hudson, the former Democratic staffer who posted the e-mails that led to Florida Republican congressman Mark Foley's scandal-ridden resignation, said yesterday that he has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Thompson is "ignoring the letter and spirit" of the law.

The complaint argues that Thompson is running a full-blown campaign and should be held to the same regulations as the other candidates.

"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," Hudson wrote on a new blog, newsfortheleft.blogspot.com.

Thompson has said consistently that he has not made up his mind to run for president this year. At events, he often says that he is "testing the water, and the water's warm." It appears that he is preparing to announce officially during the first week of September, though dates of his announcement have come and gone before. Jim Mills, a Thompson spokesman, said, "We're following the law."

Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the FEC, said the agency has received the complaint. Under FEC rules, Thompson has 15 days to respond.

By then, though, he may already be a candidate.

-- Michael D. Shear

'RED' STATE BAITING


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