Monday, January 23, 2012

Gingrich And Freddie Mac: What Is He Hiding?

“Newt Gingrich says he was not a lobbyist – he was just a politician who was paid millions after he left Congress to influence his friends in Washington. When it comes to his work for Freddie Mac, we still have more questions than answers. Speaker Gingrich should immediately make his Freddie Mac contract and work product available to the public.” –Gail Gitcho, Romney Communications Director

Weeks Ago, Speaker Gingrich Said He Would Release Records of His Work For Freddie Mac:
In Mid-November, Gingrich Said He Would Release The Documentation Of His Contract With Freddie Mac.
“Gingrich’s campaign said today they will release all the documents they legally can of his contract with the once-beleaguered housing giant. Gingrich continued to staunchly deny reports that he ever lobbied for the group, but he skirted questions about the financial payouts he received from Freddie Mac for his contracting work.” (Huma Khan, “Newt Gingrich To Release Freddie Mac Records, Denies Lobbying,”, 11/16/11)

Then His Campaign Said No Records Would be Forthcoming:
The Gingrich Campaign “Simply Released A List Of Facts” And Said “This Is It.” “It doesn’t appear that Newt Gingrich will be handing over his Freddie Mac records. … He told reporters that he would release as many documents as possible. But late this afternoon Gingrich’s campaign simply released a list of facts they wanted to reiterate. Spokesman R.C. Hammond said: ‘This is it’ when asked when the public could expect the documents Gingrich had earlier said he would try to provide.” (Jason Clayworth, “Newt Gingrich Won’t Release His Freddie Mac Records,” Des Moines Register, 11/16/11)
Gingrich First Claimed Freddie Mac Denied His Request to Release the Contract:

Gingrich Insisted His Campaign Asked Freddie Mac To Allow For Release Of Contract But That “They Wouldn’t Do It.”
“Gingrich told Bloomberg News in a Dec. 30 interview that he couldn’t make the documents public because Freddie Mac wouldn’t waive a confidentiality agreement. Gingrich’s consulting firm was paid at least $1.6 million over eight years for his services. ‘I don’t particularly want them to sue us,’ he said. Gingrich said his campaign had asked the company to lift the confidentiality clause. ‘They wouldn’t do it,’ he said.” (Lorraine Woellert and Clea Benson, “Freddie Mac Says Gingrich Can Release His Contracts as Adviser,” Bloomberg, 1/6/12)

Freddie Mac Then Directly Contradicted Gingrich’s Story, Saying He was “Welcome” to Release the Documents:
Freddie Mac Spokesperson: “He Is Welcome To Release The Contract.” “Newt Gingrich can release the details of his contract with Freddie Mac, a vice president of the mortgage giant told Bloomberg … [I]n an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Freddie Mac Vice President Sharon McHale told a different story. ‘We are not opposed to Mr. Gingrich discussing the broad terms of his consulting agreement with Freddie Mac,’ she said. ‘He is welcome to release the contract.’” (Jonathan Easley, “Gingrich ‘Is Welcome To Release’ His Contract, Freddie Mac Official Says,” The Hill, 1/6/12)

Gingrich Then Changed Course Again, Saying it Was Up to His Company to Decide:
On January 6, Gingrich Said It Was Up To His Former Firm, The Center For Health Transformation, Whether Or Not To Release The Contract.
“Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said today that he still can’t release his contract with Freddie Mac – even though the mortgage finance company gave him permission to do so – because the decision is up to his business partners in his consulting firm.” (Clea Benson and Lorraine Woellert, “Gingrich Leaves Freddie Mac Contract Release To His Partners,” Bloomberg, 1/6/12)

Unsurprisingly, Gingrich’s Old Firm Said it Would Not Release the Contract – The Announcement was Made by a Lawyer Who Represents Both Gingrich’s Company and the Gingrich Campaign:
On January 10, A Lawyer Representing The Center For Health Transformation Said It Would Not Release The Contract.
 “A lawyer for a consulting firm founded by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he was barring the release of a contract between the Republican presidential candidate and Freddie Mac. … Even though Freddie Mac is willing to allow the document to be made public, allowing a release of the documents in this case might put the confidentiality of other Center for Health Transformation clients at risk, said Stefan Passantino, an attorney representing the firm.” (Clea Benson, “Gingrich’s Former Firm Declines To Release Freddie Mac Contract,” Bloomberg, 1/10/12)

The Attorney For The Center For Health Transformation Also Serves As Counsel For Gingrich’s Presidential Campaign. 
“Calling attention to the more than $40,000 that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich charged his campaign for use of his personal mailing list, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has called on the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether Gingrich violated campaign finance laws. … Stefan Passantino, Gingrich’s lawyer, [said] that to avoid violating any federal campaign finance rules, expenses for any events that involve the campaign and Gingrich Productions are strictly segregated.” (Kim Geiger, “Watchdog Group Files Complaint Over Gingrich's $42,000 List,” The Los Angeles Times, 12/19/11)

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