Fred and Son

Posted March 16, 2007 at 6:49pm

Former Senator and presidential-nominee tease Fred Thompson may be the star of the NBC cops-n’-lawyers drama “Law & Order,” but HOH might title a show about his political activities “All in the Family.” [IMGCAP(1)]

The Tennessee Republican has hired his son, Daniel, to administer the political action committee he still maintains, according to filings, and the Fred D. Thompson PAC has paid Daniel Thompson and Associates, his son’s firm, $90,000 since 2005 in “management and consulting fees.” During that time, Thompson’s PAC only doled out a relatively paltry $25,000 to charitable causes, $20,000 to candidates and $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

While it isn’t unheard of for Members of Congress or former Members to employ family members to work for their PACs, the practice has attracted scrutiny. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has sponsored legislation that would kick family members off PAC payrolls, and watchdogs have worried that it might be a way for lawmakers and others to funnel money to members of their inner circles.

A Thompson spokesman noted that the practice is “legal and ethical,” and that Daniel Thompson is qualified for the job. In addition to running Daniel Thompson and Associates, he also heads the Nashville office of fundraising firm Lawson Associates. The spokesman also pointed out that the consultant fees are less than what those of prominent Democratic PACs are paying their managers.

Still, Thompson’s PAC is far less active than many such PACs, giving out $20,000 to candidates in the previous election cycle. And Thompson backed at least one interesting choice for the guy who some see as the most promising conservative in the GOP field. Thompson gave $2,000 to Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), though Joe seems to have a lot of Republican friends these days.

The spokesman says the coy Thompson is still weighing jumping into the race for the nomination. “He’s still seriously considering it,” he says.

Looks like he’s already polishing one plank of a platform sure to please his base: family values. But the bipartisanship? Better save that for the general.

Barfin’ Boyda. Usually, constituent service involves a lawmaker helping a resident of his or her district. But the tables were turned for Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) last week, when some visiting constituents came to her vomitorious rescue.

A group of firemen from Lawrence, Kan., had dropped by to talk about their legislative priorities, a Boyda spokeswoman says, when the Congresswoman began to feel ill. Two of the firemen with EMT training helped her to a couch and stood ready to give her medical attention.

The lawmaker, in what is sure to be one of her most embarrassing on-the-job moments, then puked into a trash can while the firefighters and an aide looked on.

After consulting with Capitol Hill physicians, Boyda went to the emergency room of The George Washington University Hospital, where she was diagnosed with gallstones. The Congresswoman was back at work the next day, but her spokeswoman says she will require routine surgery to treat the gallstones.

HOH bets Boyda was glad the constituents who witnessed her getting sick were EMTs (who surely have seen far grosser displays) not prim-and-proper DAR ladies. Ew.

Grassley’s Gash. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is such a straight arrow that HOH wasn’t surprised to learn that there wasn’t anything even the least bit salacious behind that recent gash across his forehead.

Grassley bumped his head on a shelf that had just been installed in the bathroom of his Hart Senate Office Building office, a spokeswoman says. The accident happened last Tuesday after the squeaky-clean Senator had returned to the office after dinner with some constituents at nearby brats-and-beer joint Café Berlin. But Grassley, who doesn’t drink, couldn’t blame the Bitburger. “He just wasn’t used to the shelf being there,” the spokeswoman says.

This is why guys in sweater vests don’t get more gossip-column play.

Tory Newmyer contributed to this report.

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