The seven-year stint former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson (R) spent at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington is under attack by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in its first television ad against his bid for the U.S. Senate.
The 34-second spot, released in Wisconsin on Wednesday by the DSCC, features shadowy figures working in offices and shaking hands as a male narrator discusses Thompson's work for "special interests" at Akin. Thompson joined the firm in 2005, after he stepped down as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
"Thompson sold his influence and connections, becoming a partner in a powerful Washington lobbying firm," the narrator says.
"The DSCC's ad reeks of desperation," said spokeswoman Lisa Boothe in a statement. "Tammy Baldwin and her Democrat cronies will do anything they can to divert Wisconsin voters' attention away from the fact that she is the most liberal member of Congress."
Thompson wasn't a lobbyist, according to lobbying registration records filed with Congress. But Thompson, a lawyer, advised Akin health care clients that included the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Novavax Inc. and PharmAthene Inc., the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in January. From January 2010 to October 2011, he made $771,000 at Akin, according to a financial statement he provided to the newspaper earlier this year.
"Who better than me, that's been secretary of health, to be a consultant and an adviser and also an investor in health care?" Thompson told the Journal Sentinel. "That's my strong suit!"
Democratic attacks on his work at Akin aren't new. Baldwin also has criticized his stint at the firm.
Akin employees have raised $20,750 for Thompson's campaign, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The sum is the third highest amount employees of a single organization have given to Thompson.
Using data from the center, it wasn’t immediately clear what — if any — money Baldwin raised from Akin. If any Akin employees did contribute to her campaign, according to the center, the amount would have totaled less than $10,000.