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Tennesseans Boost Thompson's Bid

Former Sen. Fred Thompson got a big home-state boost in raising more than $3.4 million in contributions toward his still-undeclared presidential campaign.

Thompson filed a list of his contributors with the IRS today, providing the first look at who provided him initial support by donating to his "testing the waters" committee in June. Many of his donors hail from Thompson's home state of Tennessee, including many from the state's insular legal community and some Nashville record executives.

Thompson raised $1.67 million from 789 Tennessee donors. The next closest state was Texas, where 202 donors contributed $337,000.

One of Thompson's largest sources of donations, with more than $27,000, was the firm INS Capital Management LLC, a financial services company with offices in New York and Nashville. He also received $2,300 (the maximum allowed) from the Law and Order television series creator, Dick Wolf, and the same amount from Wolf's wife. Former New York Sen. Alfonse D'Amato also kicked in $2,300.

Thompson raised the money outside of the structure of the Federal Election Commission because he has not declared himself a candidate. One element the FEC uses to determine whether Thompson has actually started campaigning is how much, and how, he spends the money coming into his accounts. Apparently mindful of this, Thompson spent very little in June -- just over $625,000 -- and used the money largely to build a staff, travel and construct the internet infrastructure for his campaign web site.

About $72,000 of the money that Thompson raised, much of it through Internet contributions, can be used only for a general election contest because it exceeds the $2,300 per person limit for primary contributions.

Thompson's report also revealed how he's traveling the country to test the waters. It shows his operation paid $32,000 to Thompson's friend and close advisor, Tennessee businessman Phil Martin, for the use of his private jet.

By Washington Post editors  |  July 31, 2007; 2:49 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Fred Thompson , The Green Zone  
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