According to John "Vaguely Gay Sounding Nickname" Hinderaker, accepting $5000 to convince the government to let people tell women to kill their babies is good "de minimis" work if you can find it:
Tomorrow's New York Times tries to keep alive the "issue" of Fred Thompson's work on behalf of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. The Arent Fox law firm has apparently found its billing records and provided them to the Times--they should give the Rose Law Firm lessons in how to preserve billing records--and the files confirm that Thompson did a de minimis amount of work for the abortion rights group in 1991 and 1992.
Specifically, over that one to two year period, he spent a whopping 3.3 hours lobbying "administration officials" on behalf of the organization, and also talked to its president 22 times, presumably advising her about how to take her case to the executive branch. Nothing in the records contradicts Thompson's statements that 1) he has no recollection of working on behalf of this group, and 2) he is quite sure that he did not lobby John Sununu on its behalf.
Arent Fox's current chairman, Marc Fleischaker, says, “Regardless of whatever the political ramifications are, Fred was being a good colleague by helping out one of the firm’s partners." No good deed goes unpunished, I suppose.
The Times article isn't especially unfair; it notes Thompson's pro-life voting record and quotes his post on Power Line on his role as a lawyer. But the bottom line is that there is nothing here: a lawyer represents all kinds of clients. This particular representation, on Thompson's part, amounted to very little.
What's interesting, I think, is that the news outlets that are pushing this story are not conservative. They seem to think that the story will somehow discredit Thompson among conservatives, presumably because conservatives are too dumb to understand how law firms and the legal process work.
Well I know how law firms and the legal process works, and if Fred Thompson had any moral qualms about lobbying on the behalf of abortionists, he certainly could have demurred. Had Thompson been asked to lobby for, say NAMBLA, would Hinderaker be using the same defense?
Well actually he might, so never mind that.
And while Thompson only spent "a whopping 3.3 hours lobbying "administration officials"", he also billed his client for 20 total hours at $250 per, a number that seems to have slipped under the Rocketman's radar as much as it slipped Thompson's mind.
Or maybe not, so never mind that either...
One thing you have to say about Republican lawyers, they certainly have "I don't recall" memory issues