Newt Gingrich is a First Class Washington Weasel
16 December 2011 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
According to Bloomberg News, Gingrich is said now to have been paid between $1.6 and 1.8 million by Freddie Mac, which he claims were for "consulting fees" under two contracts with Freddy Mac after he left Congress. For reasons unclear, it was obviously payoff time and payoff money, undoubtedly for things done while in office.
Newt said he gave Freddy Mac advise on public policy matters under the first contract and under the second "he advised the troubled firm as a 'historian.'" And we are supposed to swallow this. Of course, he can't remember the details.
Under the first contract, Newt counseled Freddy Mac on the federal government's big push for home ownership for everyone which was such a disaster and in part led to the later crash of the housing market, Wall Street and the US economy. And to think, he got paid for it.
Newt insists he was "not a lobbyist" although he was hired through Freddy Mac's own lobbyist. Now, Newt is declining to say what kind of advise he gave Freddy Mac. Obviously, the firm's outcomes have been less than stellar which is probably why Newt has developed not only amnesia but has also gone dumb on the matter as well.
What he did for $1.6 to 1.8 million from Freddy Mac remains and will remain murky because nothing he did by way of giving advise on public policy or as a historian was worth that, as we all know. It was a payoff for other things done Gingrich is not being at all honest about, to be sure.
This man is a weasel, a Washington insider and fraud on the hoof. Vote for him at our peril.
There are some indications that Newt did do some lobbying work or influence peddling for some of that money and it wasn't all for past efforts. The Associated reported this about Gingrich’s role at Freddie Mac:
"Four people close to Freddie Mac say he was hired to strategize with his employer about identifying political friends on Capitol Hill who would help the company through a very difficult legislative environment. All four spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the personnel matter freely.
"Freddie Mac executives hoped Gingrich’s presence would reflect positively on the company as he circulated among conservative groups and would help build intellectual support within his party, the officials said."
Here is why Newt didn't think he was lobbying. The law is a joke. In 1954 lobbyists challenged the Regulation of Lobbying Act for being unconstitutionally vague and unclear. In United States v. Harriss, 347 U.S. 612, 74 S. Ct. 808, 98 L. Ed. 989, the Supreme Court responded by upholding the act's constitutionality but also by narrowing the scope and application of the act. The Court ruled that the act applies only to paid lobbyists who directly communicate with members of Congress on pending or proposed federal legislation. This means that lobbyists who visit with congressional staff members rather than members of Congress themselves are not considered lobbyists. In addition, the act covers only attempts to influence the passage or defeat of legislation in Congress and excludes other congressional activities. Further, the act applies to and restricts only individuals who spend at least half of their time lobbying.