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Big Bank from the Small-Screen

Thompson in his Law & Order days. (AP).

Hollywood has been good to Fred Thompson.

So says the financial disclosure report he sent to the Federal Election Commission, which showed he holds assets worth as much as $8.58 million, and continues to collect millions of dollars more in residuals for the roles he's played on film and television.

The "Law and Order" star has kept most of his assets in a bank account, pension plans and a Washington condominium. He also worked as a consultant for Equitas Inc., a London- based company established by Lloyd's of London to protect it from asbestos, natural disaster and pollution claims stemming from policies sold before 1993.

Thompson sold off a $50,000 to $100,000 stake in a Tennessee real estate partnership last year. He earned more than $1 million last year for hosting The Fred Thompson Report, a radio show he did on the ABC Radio Network. He took in more than $100,000 for a speech at Policy Exchange, a conservative think tank in London. The disclosure report only reveals in broad ranges the amounts of money he earned. Last year, he took in between $2.8 and $16.3 million.

Thompson's acting alone paid him as much as $11 million. But he has also done lobbying work to protect a British firm from a provision before congress that would have saddled his client with a huge portion of a proposed asbestos settlement. And he sits on the board of a private investment firm called Guggenheim Management, which invests about $3 billion in hedge funds for its four dozen clients.

Thompson's late entry resulted in him being the last to produce his disclosure report, and while he is wealthy by most standards, he is far from the most well-off of those seeking the White House this year. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the richest -- worth as much as $247 million -- thanks to a career dealing in private equity funds that have bought and sold significant interests in more than 180 companies.

The candidates have amassed their fortunes in a variety of fashions. Sen. Barack Obama wrote his way to millionaire status with a best-selling memoir. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) raked in $11 million by trotting the globe giving speeches last year. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) married money -- his wife is the millionaire daughter of an Arizona beer magnate. And John Edwards, a trial lawyer who earned his initial fortune in the courtroom, made $479,000 last year in salary and held $7.5 million in investments with Fortress Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.

--Matthew Mosk

By Washington Post editors  |  October 10, 2007; 3:23 PM ET
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I find that it is really interesting that the money that Fred Thompson made privately is coming into play in his campaign for a public office. But that may be good for his campaign so that he can use it in his run for president following the footsteps of Gov. Mitt Romney. I don't think that choosing to come into the race for the republican nomination this late was the smartest decision that Fred Thompson made because the leaders of the race had already moved ahead enough so that it would be hard to make up that much ground.

Posted by: pbgodec | October 10, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

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