Gingrich confronted over cash, charity
June 14th, 2011
04:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Gingrich confronted over cash, charity

Concord, New Hampshire (CNN) – Newt Gingrich's campaign vehemently denied any wrongdoing following an ABC News report Tuesday that questions business practices between two of his organizations, one a for-profit business and the other a charity.

"Despite all the innuendo in the ABC story, their team of journalists did not find any activity that was not fully supported by the law," the GOP presidential candidate's Communications Director Joe DeSantis wrote in a statement.

The ABC News report said Gingrich's charity, Renewing American Leadership (ReAL) paid $220,000 over two years to Gingrich Communications, one of the candidate's for-profit businesses.

The story also said that the charity "also served as another avenue to promote Gingrich's political views, and came dangerously close, some experts say, to crossing a bright line that is supposed to separate tax-exempt charitable work from both the political process and such profit-making enterprises as books and DVDs."

Blasting back that ABC News put out "baseless insinuations," the Gingrich campaign's DeSantis added that "both ReAL and Gingrich Communications took great care to make sure all resources were being used legally and ethically. Most of the payments from ReAL to Gingrich Communications were to compensate the time of ReAL's part time executive director, who was an employee of Gingrich Communications. This is perfectly normal and common practice."

"The rest was to purchase books, which ReAL used for their fundraising efforts," the statement continued. "The book purchases were made 'at cost' meaning there was zero profit made by Gingrich Communications or Newt on the sale."

The strong statement of denial follows a testy exchange caught on video earlier Tuesday in which Gingrich dodged – then verbally dressed down – a reporter after being repeatedly pressed about the business practices.

"Can you just answer the question as to why the charity you founded gave $200,000 to your for profit company?" pressed investigative producer Angela M. Hill of ABC News.

"No," Gingrich responded at one point, turning away from the producer. The Republican presidential candidate then said, "Give me one second," and privately huddled with press secretary R.C. Hammond.

After the sidebar, Gingrich again avoided the producer and her question, walking to the front of a room gathered to hear his breakfast speech at the Kimball Jenkins School of Art in Concord, New Hampshire. Gingrich was there to discuss the future of small business.

"We'll be happy to answer," Hammond told Hill after huddling with his boss. "He doesn't know what you're talking about," he said seconds later.

After the speech, as Gingrich exited, he was pressed once again on the singular question.

"Cover the speech," he told the producer. "I'm not concerned about that. The American people aren't concerned about that," Gingrich added before getting into his SUV and slamming the door.

The ABC News report says the payments were discovered after an audit, last month, sponsored by the office of West Virginia's secretary of state.

While saying that many of its questions to the Gingrich campaign have yet to be answered, ABC News did quote former Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler, who responded to the claims before quitting Gingrich's campaign with others.

Tyler "told ABC News in a series of email exchanges prior to his resignation that the charity spent no money on political activity and 'did nothing to promote anyone's political career,'" the report states.

Updated 4:10 p.m.

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Uh - Calista needed new jewelry for her cruise????

    June 14, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Better question, why does Calista wear that yellow helmet??

    June 14, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    He sure is sneaky, isn't he? Just what this country needs.

    June 14, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Thank God I am a Democrat

    Whatever. If it was another candidate maybe they get the benefit of ther doubt pending further evidence but since this is Newt it is hard to believe that there wasn't a violation here.

    June 14, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Kenny

    Newt is taking his final Swan Dive into the "Political GUtter".

    June 14, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Cover the speech," he told the producer. "I'm not concerned about that. The American people aren't concerned about that," Gingrich added
    Umm, actually, we are.
    Don't get us wrong though, we already suspected, if not outright knew, that you were a Cheney-type slimebucket, double-dipping wherever you could; yet we're still interested in CONFIRMING our suspicions, and gathering all evidence to that effect.
    Not even a campaign staff to stand by you.
    You're like the walking dead.

    June 14, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. joe smith

    Mr. Gingrich knows too much of what goes on in D.C.; especially the slight of hand that passes between Israel, and the US Government..some of which could prove embarrassing to some notables..

    June 14, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. diridi

    If this idiot becomes president, I better go some where....o.k, He is a racial thug....

    June 14, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Dave

    Gingrich is just a typical Republican – arrogant and thin-skinned to the core. How dare some reporter ask him these "gotcha" questions? After all, he's Newt Gingrich and he doesn't have to answer any questions from that darned liberal media.

    June 14, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Realistic

    Corruption is Newts shadow and cheating is his mantra. He should of kept out of the race because when all his corruption, sneaky business practices comes out, Newt will join the ranks of John Edwards, a pathetic lying sneaky corrupt dirty idiot.

    June 14, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Once a crook, always a crook. Does Gingrich really believe the American voter is that stupid????

    June 14, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Let's face facts. The Goodship Gingrich is going down with its' captain.

    June 14, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Gingrich's political career is in shambles and the woman he's married to certainly is of no help. Newt's women in his life have finally done him in and he has nobody to blame but himself.

    June 14, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Bob in Pa

    If they want to do this, the reporters need to go after every member of the Congress. (D & R) They have structured the laws so that they know how to take advantage of them and make themselves rich from fund raising.

    June 14, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Clwyd

    Down the drain with another republican fool!

    June 14, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. SayWhat

    What that smell? It's just Gingrich doing business as usual. Anyone in America buying what he is selling?

    June 14, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. WatchDawg

    Just another moral, ethical and legal blip in a long line of moral, ethical and legal blips for Newt.

    June 14, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Bill

    Maybe he used the money to pay his wife's Tiffany bill. What a slime.

    June 14, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. Jeff

    As if we did not already know Newt is a liar and a thief? This man is the very reason we need term limits in Congress. Two terms and then they have to go out and find a real job.

    June 14, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "The American people aren't concerned about that"

    Actually, I'll bet you $220,000 that they find it VERY interesting (and concerning...if not disgusting).

    June 14, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Did anyone notice how Bachman blamed Obama for the passage of TARP last night?

    Did anyone else notice how the TARP vote was timed? It was first voted on the last Tuesday in September of 2008, and if failed to pass. Most of the Republicans and a few red state Democrats voted against it. They had a second vote on it on the the first Friday in October of 2008. Democrats voted almost the same way, but Republicans completely flipped their numbers around in favor of TARP. See the trick, yet?

    The dates are critical because it was passed as part of the 2008-09 budget, not as part of the 2007-08 budget. Why? It was to be played as a "win-win" by Republicans. First, their banking pals got paid off. But, they could blame Democrats no matter who won the general election. If a Republican won, then blame the high deficit on the Democratic Congress and play the budget games that you see today. If a Democrat won, then blame the Democratic Congress and play the budget games that you see today. Either way, the Republicans play the victim role as the defenders of the will of the American people. Get it now?

    June 14, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. EddyL

    So the sleaze takes money from his non-profit and pays himself through his for-profit company. Isn't that illegal?

    June 14, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  23. sonny chapman

    If you really want to find out what's in Newt's heart, check back on the interview by some high school reporters which closed with one kid asking Newt the same question asked of Bill Clinton when he appeared on MTV, "Boxers or Shorts" ? What a crotchety old SOB.

    June 14, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. WatchDawg

    Just another moral, ethical and legal blip in a long line of moral. ethical and legal blips hey Newt.

    June 14, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Henry

    Great guy that newt. Slimy, slimy. Rather have Weiner with his pics than Newt with his charities.

    June 14, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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