Get Updates
GOP2012: Republican debate, January 7th, 2012
The Reality
Back
Fact Check

Gingrich tries to rewrite his lobbyist history

December 10, 2011 at

GINGRICH CLAIMED HE WAS HIRED BY FREDDIE MAC AS A HISTORIAN, NOT A LOBBYIST, DESPITE AN AP REPORT TO THE CONTRARY  

Gingrich Claimed He Was Hired By Freddie Mac As A “Historian” And Not As A Lobbyist. “At Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate in Michigan, Newt Gingrich was asked by the mostly on-the-ball CNBC panel about his work on behalf of housing giant Freddie Mac. For the former Speaker of the House, it was a bit of a welcome-back moment; for the last few months, he’s been so much of an afterthought that moderators haven’t even bothered with his own personal history and resume. But Gingrich had an answer ready. He denied the lobbying charge, and then, via Benjy Sarlin, offered this spirited defense: ‘I offered advice. My advice as an historian when they walked in and said we are now making loans to people that have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything but that’s what the government wants us to do. I said at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible. It turned out unfortunately I was right and the people who were doing exactly what Congresswoman Bachmann talked about were wrong.’“ [Mother Jones, 11/9/11]  

Associated Press: Gingrich Was Hired In 2006 By Freddie Mac To Use His Influence To Keep Government Regulation Against Freddie Mac From Gaining Support In Congress. “Efforts to tighten government regulation were gaining support on Capitol Hill, and Freddie Mac was fighting back. According to internal Freddie Mac documents obtained by the AP, Reps. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), and Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) spent the evening in hard-to-obtain seats near the Nationals dugout with Freddie Mac executive Hollis McLoughlin and four of Freddie Mac’s in-house lobbyists. Both were members of the House Financial Services Committee. The Nationals tickets were bargains for Freddie Mac, part of a well-orchestrated, multimillion-dollar campaign to preserve its largely regulatory-free environment, with particular pressure exerted on Republicans who controlled Congress at the time. Internal Freddie Mac budget records show $11.7 million was paid to 52 outside lobbyists and consultants in 2006. Power brokers such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were recruited with six-figure contracts.” [Associated Press, 12/8/08]  

THE GINGRICH GROUP WAS PAID BETWEEN $1.6-$1.8 MILLION IN CONSULTING FEES BY FREDDIE MAC BETWEEN 1999-2008  

Bloomberg: Freddie Mac Paid Newt Gingrich $1.6-$1.8 Million In Consulting Fees, Not The $300,000 That Was Originally Thought. “Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement. The total amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment from Freddie Mac that Gingrich was asked about during a Republican presidential debate on Nov. 9 sponsored by CNBC, and more than was disclosed in the middle of congressional investigations into the housing industry collapse.” [Bloomberg News, 11/16/11]  

GINGRICH’S CLAIM THAT HE WAS NEVER PAID TO LOBBY WAS CONTRADICTED BY FREDDIE MAC OFFICIALS AND POLITICAL INSIDERS WHO SAID HE WAS HIRED TO CONVINCE CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS NOT TO CUT THEIR FUNDING  

Gingrich Campaign: “Gingrich Has Never Lobbied For Freddie Mac…Nor Did Gingrich, As Part Of His Contract, Advocate Against Pending Legislation Affecting Freddie Mac.” “Gingrich has never lobbied for Freddie Mac, or any client, nor has anyone in any of the organizations he founded after leaving office as part of their work with them. Gingrich made a decision after resigning that he would never be a lobbyist so that nobody would ever question the genuine nature of his advice and perspectives. This prohibition against lobbying was made very clear to all Gingrich Group clients and strict internal protocals were developed to prevent lobbying. Today’s Bloomberg article confirms that Gingrich and his firm did no lobbying for Freddie Mac. Nor did Gingrich, as part of his contract, advocate against pending legislation affecting Freddie Mac, as Gingrich was accused of doing by the moderator at the CNBC debate in Michigan. This, too, was confirmed by the Bloomberg News article this morning.” [Des Moines Register, 11/16/11]  

A Former Freddie Mac Official Said Gingrich Advised Them To Tell Republicans That The Organization Was Not Explicitly Government Backed In Order To Keep Them From Losing Funding. “Officials said Mr. Gingrich was brought in to help Freddie Mac hone its message to conservative audiences. One person recalled that Mr. Gingrich advised them, for instance, to tell Republicans that the organization was not explicitly government backed — and, at the time, it was not — but also not as freewheeling as Wall Street banks, occupying a responsible middle ground.” [New York Times, 11/16/11]  

During His First Stint With Freddie Mac, Gingrich’s Primary Contact Was Chief Lobbyist Mitchell Delk, With Whom He Helped Craft An Effort To Get The Bush Administration To Expand A Home Ownership Program. “His primary contact inside the organization was Mitchell Delk, Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist, and he was paid a self- renewing, monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000 between May 1999 until 2002, according to three people familiar with aspects of the business agreement. During that period, Gingrich consulted with Freddie Mac executives on a program to expand home ownership, an idea Delk said he pitched to President George W. Bush’s White House.” [Bloomberg News, 11/16/11]

GINGRICH PRAISED THE FREDDIE MAC BUSINESS MODEL  

In 2007, Gingrich Praised The Freddie Mac Business Model And Warned Against Changing It, In Direct Contrast With His Current Assertion That He Warned The Mortgage Company Of Its “Insane” Business Practices. “Former House speaker Newt Gingrich highlighted the benefits of Freddie Mac's business model in 2007 -- a position that appears to contradict his assertion that he warned the mortgage company of its ‘insane’ business practices. In an interview posted in an archived version of Freddie Mac's website, Gingrich discusses the so-called government-supported enterprise model, dubbed GSEs. ‘While we need to improve the regulations of the GSEs, I would be very cautious about fundamentally changing their role or the model itself,’ he said. He went on to praise Freddie Mac's and Fannie Mae's ‘important contribution’ to homeownership.” [USA Today, 12/1/11]  

In 2007, Gingrich Credited Freddie Mac With Creating “A Much More Liquid And Stable Housing Finance System.” “That's not the tone Gingrich takes in the Freddie Mac interview in which he touts the GSE model. ‘There is not much support for the idea of removing the GSE charters from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae,’ he said. ‘And it's clear why. The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownerhip and the housing finance system. We have a much more liquid and stable housing finance system that we would have had without the GSEs.’” [USA Today, 12/1/11]

The Debate
The Republican Primary

Option 1:

Watch on ABC starting at 9 p.m. ET

Option 2:

Click here to watch FoxNews' livestream
(you may need to disable your pop-up blocker)

Paid for by the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC, 20003.
This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.