Tommy Thompson – a Bain Capital connection with much to hide, everything to lose

In 2003 when Tommy Thompson was still George Bush’s Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), an extraordinary amount of money was spent lobbying for Medicare prescription drug reform. Powerful lobbyists represented global pharmaceutical interests at HHS, and spent millions of dollars to gain profitable “reform” to prescription drug laws. Leading the charge was Secretary Thompson’s future partners at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld; spending $2,020,000 on the effort (see page 28 of the document).  What Thompson has never disclosed is his firms’ financial connection to Bain Capital – possibly one reason he is hiding his tax returns for the past 10 years.

In addition to the 2003 Medicare profiteering for Thompson, the companies he worked for in 2006 stood to profit greatly from reforms to Medicaid. The shift to greater state-managed programs turned out to be a boom for Thompson and his employers:

Thompson, who served during President Bush’s first term, is on the board of Centene Corp., a St. Louis-based company that operates Medicaid-funded health maintenance organizations in Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. His proposals to move more Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured people onto such (state) plans could improve the company’s bottom line.

Thompson also is chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, part of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, a consulting firm that has contracted with states to help improve their Medicaid programs. (BD note – Deloitte now manages Medicaid health systems and reporting in Wisconsin)

Immediately after leaving the Bush Administration in 2005, Thompson took a number of high level positions. Two of the most visible were at Deloitte (Adviser and Independent Chairman) and Akin Gump (as a partner).  Thompson became part of the “revolving door” culture of Washington DC, far removed from Elroy, Wisconsin.

The most recent financial statement from Thompson, reported earlier this year, list Thompson’s assets at $13 million.  The last Public Financial Disclosure Statement available for Thompson is from 2006, when he was briefly a Presidential Candidate. The disclosure is only one year removed from his time at HHS; and is revealing as to where Thompson gets his millions, how he got them, and why he won’t turn over his taxes. Here are some income highlights:

Deloitte Touche – $1,062,500

Picis (Healthcare solutions) – $90,000

Novartis – $200,000

Heritage Medical Systems – $200,000

AGA Medical – $180,000

Pure Bioscience – $237,500

Akin Gump LLP – $1,148,421 (Income only)

To be clear – in 2006, one year after leaving the Bush Administration and deciding to not serve a second term; Thompson was paid over $1 million by a key lobbying firm for powerful and profitable (because of Thompson’s efforts) pharmaceuticals. In 2007, just one year later, Thompson and his partners at Akin Gump began representing a different type of interest – financial.

Records show that in 2007 – just before the largest economic recession since the Great Depression; Akin Gump began representing Bain Capital in lobbying for favorable securities and investment policy/legislation. Thompson and partners were paid $500,000 by Bain in 2007. In 2008, Akin Gump was paid $480,000 by Bain for financial lobbying efforts. The economy has crashed and jobs have been outsourced through the actions of firms like Bain; Thompson and his partners continue to reap the benefits.

The list of top contributors to Thompson’s current campaign  include a $20,750 contribution from Akin Gump (among other health care interests). Akin Gump still lobbies for Bain Capital.

This is not the Tommy Thompson that served as Governor of Wisconsin and negotiated with public employee unions. Thompson has changed. His refusal to disclose his taxes in light of historical information above is troubling – as it begs the question, whom does he serve? The new Tommy Thompson is far removed from the farm, has much to hide, and everything to lose.

That makes him dangerous.

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