Tommy Thompson (R)

Brother Busted for Illegal Gambling

Allen "Ed" Thompson, Thompson's brother, owns the Tee Pee Supper Club in Tomah, Wisconsin.   Thompson ran into trouble with the Monroe County police when they raided the tavern in December 1997 and found Thompson was giving pay-outs on video gambling machines in the bar. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel summed up the case:

Owner of a popular supper club here, Thompson was charged with commercial gambling after his business was hit during a raid on illegal video poker machines in December 1997. Four nickel video poker machines were confiscated from the Tee Pee Supper Club. Thompson said he did not pay out cash to winners, which is illegal in Wisconsin. All gambling charges, however, were dropped on the first day of his trial Dec. 21, when then-District Attorney John Matousek couldn't find enough unbiased jurors.

The charges were eventually dropped, and Thompson agreed to pay a fine and discontinue the video gambling machines.   Just days before his court date, however, Thompson was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer after a fight with a butcher where Thompson was stabbed in the chest. (La Crosse Tribune, 12/22/1998)

 

Failed to Disclose Holdings

When Thompson became Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, federal disclosure forms revealed his investments in a land development corporation while governor of Wisconsin. Thompson had failed to disclose his investment in the Riverwood Condominium developments to the state ethics officials. USA Today had the story on 5/1/2001:

Under Wisconsin law, state officials must disclose their interest in a property if their share is at least 10% of the total project or they invested more than $5,000.

Thompson invested $9,000 in the project in 1994 after then-Wisconsin transportation secretary Charles Thompson approached him about it, Charles Thompson told the AP earlier this year. He is not related to the former governor.

Judd said the former governor told Ethics Board officials in April that he mistakenly thought he did not have to disclose his ownership in Riverwood since he owned just 9% of the project in 1994. Thompson later invested an additional $40,000 in Riverwood.

The development borders 1,070 acres of undeveloped woodland along the Wisconsin River that the state bought in 1994 as a nature preserve.

Riverwood now is valued on tax rolls as $4.8 million, 14 times its listed value in 1994, according to records reviewed by the AP.

Charles Thompson said if the project were sold today, the profit would be $340,000, with roughly half going to the former governor.

Thompson was fined $3,000 for failure to disclose. The sum was the largest fine since 1985.

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Awarded Big Contracts to Campaign Contributors

Two weeks after Fond du Lac contractor C.D. Smith Construction won a $29.5 million contract to build a facility to house sexual predators in Mauston, Wisconsin, executives from the company donated $37,000 to Thompson's reelection campaign. Research Roland Zullo at the University of Michigan analyzed state contracts for road construction and found that contractors who had contributed to Thompson's campaign garnered contracts that averaged $20 million, while those who did not contribute received average contracts of only $870,000.

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Plans to Get Microchip Implant

As a member of the board of directors of Applied Digital Solutions, makers of the radio frequency identification (RFID) microchip, VeriChip, Thompson plans to become a walking advertisement by getting a Verichip implanted underneath his skin. Thompson has been a major proponent of the use of RFIDs, suggesting implants could be used to link people with their medical records or could replace the use of dog tags for military personnel.   "It will prevent babies from being picked up by the wrong people in a maternity ward and make sure people in nursing homes don't walk away," Thompson said. Thompson oversaw the controversial approval of VeriChips as administrator of Health and Human Services in October 2004 and joined the company's board soon after leaving HHS.   (Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/18/2005)

 

Withheld Costs of Medicare Bill from Congress

As Secretary of Health and Human Services, Thompson heavily lobbied to pass a $400 billion Medicare prescription drug bill through Congress. After the bill passed in June 2003, the chief actuary for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed that the bill would cost closer to $551 billion. The actuary claimed that he was threatened by agency administrator Thomas Scully if he came forward with the information.   A probe into the matter was snuffed by the GOP Congress.

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