Money Man Sitting Out 2012 Elections, For Now
This summer LL wrote a column trying to put a number on all the money Jeff Thompson, a politically connected accountant who also owns a Medicaid managed care firm that's one of the District's biggest contractors, gives to local pols.
LL found more than 50 individuals and corporations with links to Thompson who have given more than $730,000 to politicians in the last decade. The donors include Thompson himself, his companies, his employees, his employees' family members, his contractors, his contractors' family members, and others.
The donations can be found in every donation cycle, usually at the maximum allowable amount, and they typically come in around the same time. For instance, At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange pulled in at least $40,000 from Thompson-related sources this March 9 and 10, just as he was starting his bid for the April special election.
But so far this election cycle, the Thompson money machine has been virtually non-existent. LL found two $250 checks given to Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser by Thompson's partners at his accounting firm, but the rest of his donor network hasn't given anyone so much as a penny so far.
That slowdown has put a crimp in Orange's bottom line. When Orange ran for chair of the D.C. Council last year, his first campaign report showed him raising $189,764. When he ran in the special election, his first report put his total at $190,140. Both reports were filled with donors from the Thompson network. But without the Thompson-related money, Orange only raised $105,22, according to his first campaign report filed last night. Orange did not return a call seeking comment.
Where's the money? The press-shy Thompson didn't immediately return LL's call. It could be timing: there's still plenty of time left to give before the primary and the general election. Or maybe it's the spotlight: after LL's column, the Post did its own profile of the low-key Thompson's outsized political influence. Whatever the case, LL's sure there are plenty of District pols eager for the money machine to roar back to life.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery