The $1 million-plus that Fred Thompson’s earned as a lobbyist since the 70s is not, in lobbying terms, very much. (Insert Dr. Evil sound bite here.) In his report for the Huffington Post, Tom Edsall has to slice and dice the fees in order emphasize that, no really, it’s untoward! Untoward, I tell you!
With Baker’s rise to power, Thompson’s lobbying fees from Westinghouse and other clients shot up from a paltry $2,575 in 1980 to $100,438 in 1981 — then a considerable sum.
As for the Philip Morris ties, they’re rather attenuated: He didn’t lobby for them, but his advisers have. But it all is untoward, of course. Not the fees so much as the act of providing access for cash. As Edsall points out, “If Fred Thompson is elected president, he will be the first federally registered lobbyist to become Commander in Chief.” That he didn’t earn that much money from doing it only suggests he either didn’t need the money or wasn’t very good at the job.