All-but-declared GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson is shilling for a company whose co-founder was accused of secretly tapping into people's bank accounts.
The ex-"Law & Order" actor is airing a one-minute radio spot around the country for LifeLock, an identity-protection company co-founded by Robert Maynard.
"It's part of his contract at ABC Radio Networks. Like the other on-air talent, they are contractually obligated to do some commercials," said Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo.
As first reported in the Los Angeles Times, the Federal Trade Commission alleged in 1996 that Maynard got account numbers from consumers by peddling himself as a credit-repair expert who would clean up their credit reports.
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Maynard settled the case without admitting to the charge, though he did agree to get out of the credit-fixing business.
ABC Radio Networks and Thompson's spokesman said LifeLock is a legitimate company and he will continue to promote it. Maynard resigned last month as LifeLock's marketing director when his past was revealed, but he remains a consultant and shareholder.
"The company seems to be fine. It's currently giving away its services to soldiers and vets," said Corallo.
ABC Radio Networks added: "Identify theft is a real issue which LifeLock addresses - and we have every expectation that we will continue our relationship with them."
If Thompson jumps into the presidential contest, however, his radio days are over. "If he enters the race, obviously he will have to leave that all behind," Corallo said.
Democrats jumped all over Thompson when they learned about the commercial.
"He's lobbying for the powerful special interests . . . serving as the pitchman for a company whose owner is accused of fraud," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. "It's pretty clear that Fred Thompson stands for what's best for him and his special interest friends, not the American people," she added.
So far the LifeLock ad is the only spot Thompson has done for ABC Radio Networks. The former Tennessee senator does "The Fred Thompson Report" and is a stand-in for Paul Harvey.