Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson (R) acknowledged during a debate on Thursday that he recently sold stock in a company that did business with Iran, only after news reports highlighted his interests in the companies. The admission came as the former governor accused challenger Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) of being soft on the regime and voting against sanctions.
“I was so disturbed after having heard some of your rhetoric around my position on Iran to have read a report just hours before taking this stage that you have tens of thousands of dollars in investments in companies that do business with Iran, including a company that teams up with Iran doing Uranium mining in Africa,” Baldwin said in reaction to Thompson’s attacks. “I find that shocking. And, if you want to be tough on Iran, we have to isolate Iran. We have to make sure that companies don’t do business, to make sure that they are isolated in the world stage.”
Thompson responded by accusing Baldwin of opposing international sanctions and accepting $60,000 from Council for a Livable World — a group that supports “a negotiated solution to Iran’s nuclear program” and opposes military force:
THOMPSON: She also received a $60,000 in campaign funds, $60,000, ladies and gentleman, for a campaign from a company that believes and supports no sanctions in Iran. I heard about this stock…
BALDWIN: Who are you talking about?
THOMPSON: I heard about this stock. Wait a minute, let me finish. Let me finish, you had two minutes, let me finish. You want to interrupt me, Joe Biden, just give me a chance. The other thing is, ladies and gentlemen, is that she is talking about stock. I did not know about the fact that my stockbroker had purchased two shares, two company stocks. I sold it. I sold it today. I found out today and I sold it today. I do not tolerate, I do not agree with anybody doing business with Iran, none whatsoever. And I think you should turn back the $60,000 you got from that company that supports no sanctions for Iran.
Thompson’s personal financial disclosure show that he owns up $50,000 worth of stock in multiple firms that are owned by China and Russia and do business in Iran. As the Huffington Post’s Michael McAuliff reports, Thompson has “up to $1,000 in the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation, which were all cited in a recent Government Accountability Office study as having done business with Iran.” He also “owns up to $17,000 worth of stock in Royal Dutch Shell, which the GAO also named, and between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of stock in oil services firm Schlumberger, which has been probed by the Justice Department over its Iran work.” Finally, Thompson maintained “between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of stock in the mining operation Rio Tinto, which is partners with Iran in mining uranium. Iran owns 15 percent of a uranium mining operation in Namibia with Rio Tinto.”