Speaking of presidential politics, in Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson acknowledged to The Chicago Tribune this week that he is involved with the political action committees of not one but two potential candidates in 1988, Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) and Vice President Bush.

Thompson said the senator asked that he join the Dole committee, Campaign America. Dole said it was Thompson who called him and "told me he'd be glad to be on my committee, too."

Neither Thompson nor Dole provided details about the governor's position on the Dole committee, but a Thompson spokesman in Springfield said it was a "comparable position" to Thompson's vice chairmanship of Bush's committee, the Fund for America's Future.

Both committees exist ostensibly to raise money for Republican congressional candidates in 1986, and have nothing officially to do with their leaders' likely presidential bids. But they are really preliminary campaign committees. They provide the prospective candidates both the excuse and the money to travel the country, speaking to political dinners and praising candidates who are expected to appreciate the praise.

Thompson said he was on both committees because Illinois Republicans "want help from both" in next year's elections.