The Campaign Spot

The Los Angeles Times, Preparing Another Piece on Thompson

Folks close to Fred Thompson expect another critical piece from the Los Angeles Times in the near future, this one focusing on Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn’s past work for the government of Chile. Apparently sometime around 1991 or 1992, the partners invited Fred Thompson to join them on a trip down to Chile aimed at drumming up additional business. Fred went on the trip, sat in on the pitch meetings, and then returned with the partners. Thompson did not do any work for the government of Chile, I am told.

Allegedly, one primary source for this Times story is the same as the last one: former Congressman Michael D. Barnes (D-Md.).
This raises an interesting question: If you’re a current or former legal partner of Barnes, and you have a disagreement with him, what assurances do you have that he won’t talk about any of your work or clients to the Los Angeles Times? Do Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn partners make a habit out of talking about their former coworkers to the media?
The individual close to Thompson that I spoke to seemed to sense that the Times had not eaten their journalistic Wheaties in this endeavor. “There’s a difference in relationship between being [a lawyer] of counsel to a firm and being a partner, and they want to blur the distinction… [We] keep explaining that relationship, they don’t want to get it. Maybe we need flash cards for the L.A. Times.”
UPDATE: In related news, Philip Klein of the American Spectator heard from the L.A. Times reporter, who said that “the deletion of the movie reference was one of many final editing changes.”
There may be a “dying cowboy” scene after all; apparently Thompson was in a “modern Western” made-for-TV movie called “Keep the Change” that was probably shot around that time.
Of course, I’m still scratching my head as to why they took out the reference to Thompson re-enacting a death scene… seems like a great, vivid detail, as long as it checks out.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Not knowing Chilean history like the back of my hand, I figured this was an effort to tie Thompson to Pinochet. But unless I’m wrong on the timing, Thompson’s trip to Chile was during the presidency of Patricio Aylwin Azócar, who seems to be a pretty highly-regarded figure who managed the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

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