Over the weekend, I read the LA Times story on Fred Thompson that the Prowler had previewed on Friday, and I found the denials coming from the Thompson campaign to be a bit fishy. For those who are unfamiliar, the LA Times reported that Thompson lobbied the first Bush White House in 1991 on behalf on an abortion rights group in an effort to relax a ban on federal funding for clinics that offered abortion counseling. Much of the story is he said, she said: the head of the family planning group (Judith DeSarno) and a colleague at Thompson’s law firm at the time (Former Rep. Michael D. Barnes (D-Md.)) both say it’s true, while a Thompson spokesman and John Sununu, who was supposedly Thompson’s contact at the White House, deny the report. One thing that Thompson has going for him is that the story is coming from the LA Times with liberals as the accusers, so the campaign may be able to dismiss it as a hit piece coming from the left, which is quaking it its boots about the Thompson juggernaut.
However, the Times did uncover one bit of documentary evidence that contradicts Thompson’s account:
Whether such lobbying work should negate his pro-life voting record in the Senate is another matter entirely, however, I think the meeting minutes severely undercut Thompson’s claim to have not lobbied for the group. It may not be enough to cause problems for Thompson right now, however, if a smoking gun emerges, such as actual billing records, or some evidence of a meeting between Thompson and Sununu, it is no longer just an abortion issue, but an honesty issue. Then it could become a problem for him.
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