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Tired of Waiting
For Fred's Move

Fred Thompson has been "testing the waters" for weeks, operating officially as a non-candidate but seeming very candidate-like indeed. Trips to New Hampshire. Speeches. Even a howdy at the Iowa State Fair.

Now, it may have caught up to him.

Lane Hudson, the former Democratic staffer who posted the e-mails that led to Florida congressman Mark Foley's scandal-ridden resignation, said Monday that he has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission claiming that Thompson is "ignoring the letter and spirit" of the law.

The complaint argues that Thompson is running a full-blown campaign and should be held to the same regulations as the other Republican candidates.

"He has been presenting himself as a candidate for President, he has been raising large sums of money beyond what would be required to explore a possible candidacy," Hudson wrote on a new blog,

Thompson has said consistently that he has not made up his mind to run for president this year. At events, he often says that he is "testing the water, and the water's warm."

His campaign argues that gives him the ability to delay opening a formal exploratory committee and subject himself to the financial disclosure requirements that come along with that. It appears that he is preparing to announce officially during the first week of September, though dates of his announcement have come and gone before. Jim Mills, a Thompson spokesman, said "We're following the law."

Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the FEC, said the agency has received the complaint. Under FEC rules, Thompson now has 15 days to respond.

By then, though, he may already be a candidate.

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  August 20, 2007; 1:05 PM ET
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