Jim Geraghty over at National Review Online is reporting on an interesting thing concerning this story that the L.A.Times printed last weekend claiming that some abortion advocates hired Fred Thompson to lobby the White House for them over a pro-abortion issue in 1991 (Original Publius’ Forum story here). It seems that the story as originally posted on the LAT website has been altered with no notice of the change, nor an explanation of why it was changed. Once the removed sentence is looked into, though, it becomes clear that it was removed in an attempt to clean up the story to remove items problematic to the veracity of the thing!

In the July 7th version of the story Judith DeSarno, the woman making the accusation that Thompson worked for her pro-abortion organization in ’91, mentioned that she had talked with the Senator about his “cowboy death scene” in a movie he was in. She claimed she talked to him about this scene during one of the diners she claimed to have had with him where they discussed his lobbying efforts.

The problem with DeSarno’s original claim is Thompson was never in any westerns in the 1990s. In fact, he appeared in a western only recently with the HBO movie “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, which was released this year — and in that he played president Ulysses S. Grant.

So, in an apparent attempt to make DeSarno’s claims of a 1991 meeting seem more truthful, the “cowboy” section was removed from the story.

The old paragraph read:

At one of the meals, she recalled, Thompson re-enacted a cowboy death scene from one of his movies. She also remembered him telling her that Sununu had just given him tickets for a VIP tour of the White House for one of Thompson’s sons and his wife.

The new paragraph reads:

Thompson kept her updated on his progress in telephone conversations and over meals at Washington restaurants, including dinner at Galileo and lunch at the Monocle, she said. At one of the meals, she recalled, Thompson told her that Sununu had just given him tickets for a VIP tour of the White House for a Thompson son and his wife.

There you go, all nice and cleaned up so that the dissembling is removed and NOW it looks more truthful… again!

But there are more troubles with this story than just one mysteriously disappearing quote. There is another timing issue with Thompson lobbying for this group in 1991. To become a lobbyist you have to register with the government and there is no Thompson registration during the time DeSarno and the Times claims he was working for them. Captain Ed at Captain’s Quarters reports on this L.A.Times slip up:

Arent Fox brought Thompson into the firm to be “of counsel” in 1991 for his expertise in their lobbying business, including the representation of foreign governments. Anyone involved in such lobbying has to register with the Foreign Agent Registration Unit at the Department of Justice. Arent Fox filed its registration for its lobbyists, complete with the listings of all its lobbyists — including their start and termination dates.

Take a look at registrant #2661 in the FARA search system (unfortunately, the results are unlinkable). Fred D. Thompson, according to their records, starts as a lobbyist for foreign business on 10/10/1991 and terminates on 9/17/1993, which is when he decided to run for the remainder of Al Gore’s term in the Senate. That gives some indication that Thompson started lobbying for Arent in October and not September of 1991. It’s possible that Arent had limited Thompson to lobbying for domestic clients until October, but that seems rather odd, given their desire to have him on board as a major attraction for DC lobbying.

So, there is no registration for Thompson to be a lobbyist until the month AFTER the L.A.Times story claims he was lobbying the White House for this abortion group. And the registration that does exist for the next month registers him as a lobbyist to foreign nations, not domestic concerns.

This story is seeing bigger and bigger holes blasted through it every day by the blogosphere, and it’s getting easier and easier to believe Thompson’s claims that it is all a straight out lie as this story falls apart around the L.A.Times’ ears.

And what of the Hillary Clinton connections I mentioned a few days ago? How deep are Hillary’s hands in this incident one has to wonder?

Be Sociable, Share!