Washington — Former Sen. Fred Thompson passed away at the age of 73 on Sunday. Thompson chaired the Governmental Affairs Committee from 1997 to 2001. The Tennessee Republican led the passage of bipartisan legislation to improve governmental operations, including strengthening government management, reforming the regulatory process, and enhancing government transparency. Thompson was also an early voice warning about the nation’s vulnerability to cyberattacks, and he won passage of bipartisan legislation to improve federal information security.
During his chairmanship, the committee investigated national security threats and government corruption, including abuses of the nation’s campaign finance laws and the Chinese government’s efforts to influence the 1996 election.
Thompson also joined with former Chairman Joseph Lieberman to champion the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The committee was later expanded to become the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Beyond his work in Congress, Thompson was a successful lawyer, including as the minority staff counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee and as a prosecutor who fought corruption. He also had a successful career as an actor and political commentator.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, remembered Sen. Thompson, saying, “On behalf of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I offer our deepest condolences to the Thompson family. We are grateful for Senator Thompson’s principled service and leadership. And we are saddened by his passing.”
“Fred Thompson is a national icon. He served his nation in government as a principled lawmaker and investigator,” Johnson said.
“His service as chairman and ranking member is emblematic of our committee’s tradition of bipartisan oversight and lawmaking to make our nation stronger. We will honor his legacy by continuing his work today.”