- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2012

A high-profile campaign donor currently under federal investigation for his pattern of giving to D.C. politicians is also tied to more than $100,000 in contributions to Virginia candidates over the past 12 years.

Jeffrey E. Thompson, his affiliates and associates appear to have contributed the most money to former Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, a Republican, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan clearinghouse for campaign finance information in the state.

A network of contributors linked to Mr. Thompson gave $66,000 to Mr. Davis’s political action committees since 2000.

Mr. Thompson himself gave $5,000 to Mr. Davis’ Federal Victory Fund PAC on June 6, 2006. His accounting firm, Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates, gave $50,000 on Oct. 19, 2001. His company, D.C. Healthcare Systems, donated $1,000 to the Tom Davis VA Victory Fund on Sept. 29, 2000.

D.C. Chartered Health Plan Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of D.C. Healthcare Systems, gave $10,000 to the Tom Davis Victory Fund on Aug. 28, 2000. The Washington Post reported Monday that Mr. Thompson stepped down last week from the board of D.C. Chartered Health Plan.

Mr. Davis said he has not received any inquiries into the money he has received from Mr. Thompson or his associates over the years.

Mr. Davis, who represented Northern Virginia’s 11th District in Congress for seven terms, served as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has oversight of D.C. affairs. He and was one of the strongest Republican advocates for D.C. voting rights.

Federal agents raided Mr. Thompson’s home and offices and that of his longtime spokeswoman, Jeanne Harris, in March. The investigation seems to be contained to the District, where six D.C. Council members’ offices confirmed receipt of subpoenas requesting campaign finance records related to Mr. Thompson, his associates and business ventures.

In an April 3 story, The Washington Times detailed more than $250,000 in contributions Mr. Thompson and his associates made to Maryland politicians over the past 12 years.

Neither Mr. Thompson nor any of the other donors with ties to him have been accused of any wrongdoing, and the practice of organizing contributions from companies, employees, their families and affiliated firms — called “bundling” — is not illegal. Mr. Thompson’s lawyer has declined to comment.

Campaign finance analysts have speculated that federal investigators could be attempting to determine whether any contributors were reimbursed for their donations, or used as “straw donors” in what would be an illegal scheme to evade campaign finance limits.

But Virginia law places no limits on campaign finance, instead calling for full disclosure of contributions.

According to the records, Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates also gave $5,000 to Sen. Mark R. Warner’s gubernatorial campaign on Nov. 1, 2001, and $500 to the campaign on Oct. 13, 2001.

Stanley Straughter of Philadelphia, who donated the maximum allowable contributions to candidates in the District and Maryland on the same day as others in the Thompson network and lists Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates as his employer in a federal campaign finance filing, also gave $250 on Oct. 13.

Mr. Straughter did not return a message seeking comment about his contribution, and a spokesman for Mr. Warner said his office has not been contacted about the donations.

A number of donations were also made from Mr. Thompson and his associates on the same day to the gubernatorial campaign of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, now a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, received a $20,000 donation on Sept. 16, 2005, from Mr. Thompson, a $2,000 donation from Michael Cobb, a partner at Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates; $2,000 from Lee Calhoun and $250 from Albert Lucas — both principals at the firm.

Mr. Cobb, Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Lucas did not return messages seeking comment.

Mr. Thompson also donated $2,500 to the 2009 gubernatorial campaign of Terry McAuliffe. A spokesman for Mr. McAuliffe said he has not received any inquiries about the donations.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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