How much have you heard about, or do you expect to hear about Fred Thompson spending a good part of this year traveling in a jet provided by a friend, close adviser, contributor and convicted drug dealer, as a part of his presidential campaign?
Thompson selected the businessman, Philip Martin, to raise seed money for his White House bid. Martin is one of four campaign co-chairmen and the head of a group called the "first day founders." Campaign aides jokingly began to refer to Martin, who has been friends with Thompson since the early 1990s, as the head of "Thompson's Airforce."
Thompson's frequent flights aboard Martin's twin-engine Cessna 560 Citation have saved him more than $100,000, because until the law changed in September, campaign-finance rules allowed presidential candidates to reimburse private jet owners for just a fraction of the true cost of flights.
They’ll probably say it wasn’t campaign travel because he hadn’t declared yet. The FEC might have to pretend that he wasn’t campaigning and that legal charade will be the excuse used by the Republican media shills to ignore his associations with a convicted drug dealer, we, friends, are free to look at the reality of the situation.
What is that part of the reality?
Martin entered a plea of guilty to the sale of 11 pounds of marijuana in 1979; the court withheld judgment pending completion of his probation. He was charged in 1983 with violating his probation and with multiple counts of felony bookmaking, cocaine trafficking and conspiracy. He pleaded no contest to the cocaine-trafficking and conspiracy charges, which stemmed from a plan to sell $30,000 worth of the drug, and was continued on probation.
Thompson's campaign said the candidate was not aware of the multiple criminal cases, for which Martin served no jail time. All are described in public court records.
Hands up anyone who isn’t shocked that someone who would end up a right-wing businessman supporting Fred Thompson didn’t serve jail time for crimes that would have sent a poor kid up the river for many years?
And speaking of “many years”, extra points to anyone who can spot the non sequitur in this part of the story.
Karen Hanretty, Thompson's deputy communications director, said yesterday that "Senator Thompson was unaware of the information until this afternoon. Phil Martin has been a friend of the senator since the mid-1990s and remains so today." Thompson communications director Todd Harris added that Martin was not subjected to the campaign's standard vetting process because "he's a longtime friend."
"There's not a campaign in the world that has the ability to research every one of its supporters going back more than 20 years," Harris said.
Getting back to the title of this post, just as you can be certain the Republican media shills will. There is mention of Hillary Clinton having to return money raised by Norman Hsu two sentences on, as if that was relevant to the story.
It’s a safe bet that if this does become something the media can’t ignore, they will bring up Hsu along with Charlie Trie and any other past contributors to Democrats with shady pasts and vaguely Asian sounding names.
Buzz Flash, where I found the link to this story, pointed out that this is the kind of story often leaked by political rivals. Those are all Republicans at this point.