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Frank Thompson Jr. (July 26, 1918 – July 22, 1989) was a Democratic Party politician from New Jersey. Thompson represented New Jersey's 4th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1955 to 1980. He is one of seven federal politicians who were convicted in the Abscam case in 1980. As a result, he resigned from Congress and served two years in prison.

Frank Thompson
Frank Thompson.jpg
Chair of the House Administration Committee
In office
June 18, 1976 – December 29, 1980
Preceded byWayne Hays
Succeeded byLucien N. Nedzi
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1955 – December 29, 1980
Preceded byCharles R. Howell
Succeeded byChris Smith
Personal details
Born(1918-07-26)July 26, 1918
Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedJuly 22, 1989(1989-07-22) (aged 70)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
EducationWake Forest University (BA, LLB)

Life and careerEdit

Thompson was born in Trenton, New Jersey. He attended Wake Forest University, from which he earned a degree in law from the Wake Forest University School of Law.[1]

Following the outbreak of World War II, Thompson put his legal career on hold to serve in the United States Navy. From 1941 to 1948, Thompson was on active duty. He received three combat decorations for distinguished service at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After a few years of practicing law, Thompson returned to the military and from August 1950 to January 1952, commanded the United States Navy Reserve Battalion 4-68 completing a seventeen-month tour of active duty, on the staff of the commander, Eastern Sea Frontier.

Between 1950-54, he was as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly, serving as minority leader during his second term.[2] In 1954, he successfully ran as a Democrat for a seat in Congress. Thompson was a liberal voice in the House. He was also a strong supporter of John F. Kennedy and ran Kennedy's voter registration operations in the 1960 Presidential election.[2]

From 1969-71 he chaired the House Subcommittee on Libraries and Memorials and during his tenure conducted the first ever comprehensive hearings into the operations of the Smithsonian Institution. From 1975-78, he also chaired the Joint Committee on Printing. He sponsored legislation that created both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and authored the legislation to establish the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.[1]

He was a ranking member of his party, serving as the chairman of the Committee on House Administration during his final three terms.

Abscam convictionEdit

In February 1980, Thompson was one of six Congressmen who were implicated in the Abscam sting.[1] Despite the charges, Thompson ran for re-election. He faced Chris Smith whom he had easily dispatched in 1978.[3][4] The accusations weighed on the campaign and Smith defeated Thompson with 57% of the vote.[5]

Although Thompson maintained his innocence, he was convicted of bribery and conspiracy charges on December 3, 1980. On December 29, 1980, he resigned from Congress. In 1981, an appeals court upheld his conviction and he received a sentenced of three years in prison. He served two years at the Federal prison in Lexington before he was granted parole in 1985.[2]

After his release, he quietly lived out his days in Alexandria, Virginia. Thompson was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He passed away at the hospital on July 22, 1989, four days before his 71st birthday.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Frank Thompson, 70; Career In Congress Ended With Abscam". New York Times. 1989-07-24.
  2. ^ a b c "N.J. Democrat Frank Thompson Dies". Washington Post. 1989-07-24.
  3. ^ "NJ District 4 Race". Our Campaigns. November 7, 1978. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  4. ^ "Statistics from the Congressional Election 1978" (PDF). Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  5. ^ NJ District 4 – 1980 Election, Our Campaigns; accessed October 6, 2013.

External linksEdit