Patterico's Pontifications

7/18/2007

Fred’s Billing Records Found!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:32 pm

Eight days ago, I said of the L.A. Times‘s story on Fred Thompson’s lobbying for an abortion rights group: “the rumors of the death of the story’s credibility were greatly exaggerated.”

I had no idea how right I was.

The New York Times reports:

Billing records show that former Senator Fred Thompson spent nearly 20 hours working as a lobbyist on behalf of a group seeking to ease restrictive federal rules on abortion counseling in the 1990s, even though he recently said he did not recall doing any work for the organization.

According to records from Arent Fox, the law firm based in Washington where Mr. Thompson worked part-time from 1991 to 1994, he charged the organization, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, about $5,000 for work he did in 1991 and 1992. The records show that Mr. Thompson, a probable Republican candidate for president in 2008, spent much of that time in telephone conferences with the president of the group, and on three occasions he reported lobbying administration officials on its behalf.

. . . .

The billing records from Arent Fox show that Mr. Thompson, who charged about $250 an hour, spoke 22 times with Judith DeSarno, who was then president of the family planning group. In addition, he lobbied “administration officials” for a total of 3.3 hours, the records show, although they do not specify which officials he met with or what was said.

I wonder if he charged for the re-enactment of that scene from “Keep the Change.”

The billing records’ specific references to lobbying sort of undercut this previous denial:

Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo adamantly denied that Thompson worked for the family planning group. “Fred Thompson did not lobby for this group, period,” he said in an e-mail.

In a telephone interview, he added: “There’s no documents to prove it, there’s no billing records, and Thompson says he has no recollection of it, says it didn’t happen.”

P.S. Earlier this evening, the spin at Captain’s Quarters from a “source” (one assumes a source from the campaign, although it could also be someone from Arent Fox) was:

Fred Thompson made it clear that he never represented this group as a lobbyist, and that he never lobbied John Sununu on their behalf. . . . If the source has the details correct, it would appear to support Thompson’s statements.

Well, if the New York Times has the details correct, then Ed’s source . . . didn’t.

P.P.S. Release the records!

P.P.P.S. I should make clear that none of this means Thompson necessarily lied. John Hinderaker says:

Nothing in the records contradicts Thompson’s statements that 1) he has no recollection of working on behalf of this group, and 2) he is quite sure that he did not lobby John Sununu on its behalf.

OK, that’s fine. 19 hours of work done 14 years ago is not something you’d necessarily remember.

But the problem is that his campaign issued a blanket denial, when it shouldn’t have. That was an unforced error. For that reason, I disagree with my friend John when he says the story merits a “yawn” and nothing more.

Fred’s Billing Records Found?

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 8:38 pm

Ed Morrissey writes that Fred’s billing records have been found:

The Los Angeles Times will report in the next day or so that billing records have been found at Arent Fox which show some consultations between Fred Thompson and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. The records will show that Arent billed the NFPRHA for nineteen hours of consultation over a period of fourteen months. The time period corresponds roughly to the time frame between when the NFPRHA claims they hired Thompson as a lobbyist, in September 1991.

It must be annoying for them to have blogs running around scooping them on everything.

So what does this mean?

To me, the controversy over Fred Thompson’s alleged lobbying for an abortion rights group has little to do with his views on abortion, and more to do with his honesty.

I have said I don’t much care if he did lawyer’s work for an abortion rights group. But I’ll be upset if it turns out that he has lied to us about it.

Ed writes:

We can expect the billing records to make a big splash in the blogosphere. However, a few points should be noted. Fred Thompson made it clear that he never represented this group as a lobbyist, and that he never lobbied John Sununu on their behalf. Sununu verified Thompson’s denial. Thompson never denied nor confirmed that he provided some consultation on their behalf through Arent Fox, saying that he could not recall either way.

I’m not so clear on this. The original L.A. Times story on this said:

Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo adamantly denied that Thompson worked for the family planning group. “Fred Thompson did not lobby for this group, period,” he said in an e-mail.

Now, is that bolded part accurate? Or is it a sloppy L.A. Times gloss on a more limited denial of lobbying? I haven’t seen Corallo’s e-mail, so I don’t know.

But I do know that the same story has Corallo admitting that Thompson “may have been consulted by one of [his] firm’s partners who represented this group in 1991,” and adding that it was “not unusual for one lawyer on one side of an issue to be asked to give advice to colleagues for clients who engage in conduct or activities with which they personally disagree.” Now, that’s an unusual admission for a guy who supposedly issued a blanket denial that Thompson had ever worked for them.

What was the context of this admission by Corallo? I think that’s important.

The admission may have been forced by an L.A. Times reporter, who countered an initial denial with evidence of the board minutes. The article implies that this is the case, but does not clearly say so. If this is the case, Thompson looks weaselly — denying lobbying initially, but (in a sin of omission) forgetting to mention that he had done work for the group, only to admit the possibility when confronted with documentary evidence.

Or, the admission by Corallo may have accompanied the initial denial of lobbying: Thompson didn’t lobby, but he may have done some consulting. If that’s the case, then the reporter spun the message to make Thompson look bad.

Only a look at the e-mails themselves would tell us for sure.

Ed says: “If the source has the details correct, it would appear to support Thompson’s statements. A lobbyist who only bills 19 hours in 14 months would be a highly unsuccessful lobbyist, and the client idiotic.” Hmm. But Corallo has offered this possible scenario:

“He has no recollection of doing any work for this group. And since he was of counsel and not a member of the firm, it was not unusual for the firm’s partners to trot their clients in to meet him, get his views and even some advice.”

19 hours of partner’s trotting clients into Thompson’s office? I’m not sure that flies.

So, did Fred lie? I don’t know. Let’s wait and see what the story says.

UPDATE: Well, that was quick. The New York Times has the story, and the details are not good for Fred’s campaign, or for the pre-spinning at Captain Ed’s. Details here.

Hard to Believe, but This Headline Is Terrible

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:56 pm

The headline in the L.A. Times reads:

Hard to believe, but Dodgers lose 26-hitter

Now take a second and ask yourself what happened in the game.

Answer after the jump.

(more…)

Deport the Criminals First Deport Them Now Comes to TV

Filed under: Crime,Deport the Criminals First,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 6:19 pm

This morniing I pointed you to Michelle Malkin’s “Deport Them Now” campaign, which plans to run a

series of PSAs based on Patterico’s excellent series spotlighting the thugs who have benefited from the criminal alien revolving door. Enough is enough. Time to act.

That was heartening enough, but I was especially pleased to see the campaign spotlighted on FOX News with John Gibson today. Allah has the clip.

I still prefer the term “Deport the Criminals First” — but I care less about labels and more about action.

Am I crazy to think we might actually get something done here?

In sadder news, Allah provides a link to these details about the guy suspected of killing Zina Linnik:

According to the Pierce County Proescutor’s Office , Adhahn was booked into the Pierce County Jail on one count of kidnapping and three counts of first degree child rape for the May 31, 2000 kidnapping and rape of an 11-year-old girl who was found duct taped to a tree at Fort Lewis.

Adhahn has also been booked on one count of first degree rape, three counts of second degree rape and three counts of third degree child rape involving a girl who lived with him between 2001 and 2005.

There are an additional 50 counts of third degree child rape. Tacoma Police would not say what case those counts relate to. Probable cause documents indicate the girl that had lived with Adhahn told investigators that she was raped once or twice a week and that the total number of rapes was somewhere between 150 and 200.

Who knows how many little girls this guy may have victimized?

Rudy on Appointing Conservative Judges

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:13 am

The other day I suggested that it would be a good idea for Rudy Giuliani to more clearly commit to appointing judges with a conservative judicial philosophy. Well, apparently when I say “Jump,” Rudy says “How high?”:

As President, I will nominate strict constructionist judges with respect for the rule of law and a proven fidelity to the Constitution – judges in the mold of Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito and Chief Justice Roberts.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

(h/t omegapaladin.)

Today on Hot Air

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:08 am

A couple of Hot Air links are worth your time. Actually they all are, but check out these two in particular:

  • I discuss Johnny Sutton’s appearance on Hannity & Colmes here.

Yagman: Patterico Made Me Do It!

Filed under: Buffoons,Crime,General — Patterico @ 12:10 am

In this post I said of the Stephen Yagman trial:

I have a wonderful story to tell you about the trial — a story that will put a smile on all of your faces. But I don’t have time to tell it now. Stay tuned, though — this one is good.

Here it is.

A few weeks ago, Patrick Range McDonald, a writer from the L.A. Weekly, asked me for my thoughts regarding the Yagman trial. Specifically, he wanted to know how I felt about Yagman citing my web site in court testimony as a place where threats have been made against him.

According to McDonald, when Yagman testified, Yagman claimed that part of the reason that he transferred his house to his girlfriend had something to do with a concern for his personal safety. (Don’t ask me why; I don’t understand the logic.)

Yagman’s lawyer asked him if he had received any threats. Why, yes, Yagman said, he had — he had received some Internet threats.

Where did they come from, his lawyer asked.

Well, Yagman testified, there’s this one site operated by Patrick Frey, who works for the District Attorney’s office. It’s called —

At which point the Government objected, and Judge Wilson sustained the objection.

That’s right, folks. Steve Yagman invoked yours truly as a reason for his illegal actions.

“It was an interesting stunt,” McDonald told me, “because Yagman seemed to be trying to find a way to hit that angle of a vindictive government going after him, something his lawyer only brought up during opening arguments and never mentioned again.”

There are just two problems with Yagman’s complaint.

First, and most obviously, I have (of course) never threatened him, on this site or anywhere else.

What could Yagman possibly be talking about? I’m not sure. My best guess — and it’s just a guess — is that he was alluding to this site’s reprinting of Jerry LeFrois’s joyful letter to Yagman, in which LeFrois tastelessly expressed a wish (not a threat) that Yagman would be sexually assaulted in a prison cell by someone named Bubba. (This sentiment, which I disagree with as a long-standing opponent of prison rape, was later echoed by a couple of commenters here. My guest blogger Justin Levine posted the letter, not as a threat, of course, but rather as part of a post that chronicled the history of Yagman’s frivolous lawsuit against LeFrois for intentional infliction of emotional distress.) If that is Yagman’s theory, there’s just one leetle problem with it: those comments all came, of course, after Yagman’s indictment. How could they explain why Yagman committed the acts that he was indicted for?

And that leads us to the second fundamental problem with Yagman’s dishonest little story: regardless of how far back you go, there is no post on this site old enough to have caused Yagman to do the things he was prosecuted for. This blog began in February 2003. Did Yagman crawl into a time machine and travel to the future? Did he read my blog during those precious few moments he had to glimpse the world to come? It’s otherwise quite difficult to imagine how else a blog that began to exist in February 2003 could have caused Yagman to falsify tax returns from 1994 through 1997 . . . or file a dishonest bankruptcy petition in 1999 . . . or fail to disclose bank and brokerage accounts, legal settlements, client payments, and attorney’s fees received in 1999 and 2000. (Source: a press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California about Yagman’s conviction.)

Yup: he did it in part because of threats he saw on a blog that began several years later.

My guess: Yagman never heard of this blog until he read my quote in McDonald’s first L.A. Weekly piece on the trial, which came out in May of this year. So he made up a little story about how this blog had threats against him. The fact that I am a Deputy D.A. fit nicely with his theme of the Little Guy vs. the Establishment. And he probably figured that his little comment would be objected to — meaning the Government (and jury) would never learn that the blog in question could not possibly have influenced him to commit the actions that got him charged (and convicted).

The narrative was more important than the truth. Somehow, it seems fitting.

Beldar Reviews “Supreme Conflict”

Filed under: General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Beldar has a positive review of Jan Crawford Greenburg’s book Supreme Conflict.

It’s interesting to put Beldar’s review and mine side by side. We were antagonists in the Harriet Miers debate, and both felt strongly about it. Beldar still carries the psychic wounds from that debate, whereas I consider it a proud moment for this blog, and I’m very pleased with the result.

But both Beldar and I were struck by similar passages in the book, such that we both noted them in our respective reviews. Both of us noted Greenburg’s citation of Harriet Miers’s ironic statement: “I think the blogs will be really important.”

And both of us were struck by the report that President Bush made the final call to axe the Miers nomination. I had actually hoped that this news would provide some comfort to those of Beldar’s mindset. As I said in my review:

Perhaps the “trust Bush” crowd would have taken the decision more easily if they had known that Bush was behind the decision for Miers to withdraw — and that it wasn’t wholly motivated by conservative opposition (though that opposition certainly had much to do with it).

It doesn’t seem to have been quite the comfort I had hoped it would be. Beldar says:

And I guess it makes me feel marginally better. I might have been a dim and unsuccessful candle against a hurricane, but it wasn’t the hurricane that ended up wrecking the ship, no matter how smug the hurricane was afterwards.

I think I am part of the smug hurricane Beldar is referring to. Oh, well.

It would be nice if Beldar could overcome his resentment of the opposition to Miers long enough to follow this syllogism:

  • We must trust Bush on his Supreme Court nomination decisions.
  • Bush decided to end Harriet Miers’s nomination.

Therefore:

  • We must trust Bush on his decision to end Harriet Miers’s Supreme Court nomination.

Anyway. Enough of that.

Both Beldar and I were struck by the way Greenburg showed that Justice Thomas is no lackey of Justice Scalia. We were both amused by the personal stories about John Roberts’s travails in dealing with the nomination process.

And we were both generally impressed with the quality of the book. And that’s enough. This is one area where I choose to emphasize our areas of agreement.

P.S. Speaking of Ms. Greenburg, she has a new post at her Legalities blog. It contrasts the current Harry Reid-led all-night session with the similar tactic pulled by Republicans during the debate over certain of President Bush’s nominees. This passage ends with a funny line:

Talk about the shoe being on the other foot.

Senate Democrats are hauling out cots and preparing for an around-the-clock session tonight to bash Republicans for blocking a vote on a proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq. They’re solemnly intoning that the all-nighter is a critical way of calling attention to obstructionist Republicans who are blocking the will of the majority by refusing to end the debate and vote. And the Republicans are blasting right back that the all-nighter is nothing more than a stunt that will solidify their resolve.

Sound familiar? It is. We heard it all in 2003, when Republicans (then in control of the Senate) used a similar ploy—right down to the cots–against Democrats who were blocking President Bush’s judicial nominees. Ineffectual Republican leaders had sat by for months while energized Democrats picked off Bush’s judges—until the Big Night when they had the sleepover on the Hill. They hammered those irksome Democrats in the minority who were mounting the first-ever filibuster of appellate court judges.

And then everyone went home, and Democrats kept their resolve. The filibuster would prove enormously effective and keep some of Bush’s nominees—Estrada, Kulh, Owen, Brown–from subsequently making it to the Supreme Court when the President had a chance to fill two vacancies.

But of course, in 2003, Republicans and Democrats had a different spin on the whole all-night session/filibuster thing. It’s almost like we’re looking at a big cartoon with talking points in those quote balloons above the senators’ heads. Someone sneaked in and switched the quotes all around.

Heh. Indeed.

P.P.S. A sentence above originally read: “It contrasts the current Harry Reid-led all-night filibuster with the similar tactic pulled by Republicans during the debate over certain of President Bush’s nominees.” Of course it’s the Republicans filibustering, and I knew that, but had a temporary brain freeze. The word “filibuster” has been changed to “session.”


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