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Blogger files FEC complaint against Thompson

Lane Hudson, a left-wing blogger, filed a complaint against former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) on Monday, accusing the likely presidential candidate of breaking the law by violating the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) “testing the waters” clause.

Hudson, known for posting e-mails from former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) in last year’s page scandal, said Thompson “has been presenting himself as a candidate, he has been raising large sums of money beyond what would be required to explore a possible candidacy and he has signed a long term lease on a headquarters for his campaign.”

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In his complaint, Hudson lays out a number of examples ranging from Thompson’s extensive fundraising to quotes from the senator and his advisers.

“Fred Thompson is breaking the law and it’s time somebody did something about it,” Hudson said in a statement. “So, this morning, I filed an FEC Complaint against him. For far too long, he has been ignoring the letter and spirit of Federal Election Law for his own political benefit. It reeks of the same disregard for the law that we have seen from the Bush Administration, Bob Ney, Duke Cunningham, Tom Delay [sic], and Mark Foley.”

In an e-mail, Thompson spokesman Jim Mills said only, “We’re following the law.”

The FEC Monday afternoon could only confirm that it has received the complaint. The complaint will be treated as a “matter under review.”

Within five days of receiving the complaint, the FEC must notify the Thompson exploratory committee and provide it with a copy of the complaint. The committee then has 15 days to respond to the FEC and say in writing “why no action should be taken.”

A number of press reports have raised questions about the extent of Thompson’s early efforts and whether they run afoul of the “testing the waters” clause.

The law is particularly vague in this area as there are no set dollar amounts a would-be candidate is prevented from raising. Thompson’s $3.4 million June haul as outlined in a report to the IRS does not meet or exceed any specific legal guideline.