Gingrich camp's 'last word' on Freddie Mac
November 17th, 2011
01:30 PM ET
7 years ago

Gingrich camp's 'last word' on Freddie Mac

(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not release more Freddie Mac-related documents, according to campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond.

Though the contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination said Wednesday that his campaign would "do what they can" to release more information about payments he received as a consultant from the government-backed mortgage group, Hammond backtracked later in the evening.

When asked via email whether the campaign would release more Freddie Mac-related documents or if a fact sheet it released in the afternoon was the last word on the issue, Hammond responded to CNN, "last word."

The GOP heavyweight said early Wednesday following a campaign event in Iowa that he was unsure of how much Gingrich Group was paid by Freddie Mac but that his team has gone back to "check" the amount.

Asked if his campaign would make the figure public, Gingrich replied, "To the degree we can, sure."

What followed was a campaign release including six "facts" about the Gingrich Group and Freddie Mac, including the following highlights: "Newt Gingrich welcomes scrutiny of his record in public office and as a small businessman; Gingrich has never lobbied for Freddie Mac or any client; Nor did Gingrich, as part of his contract, advocate against pending legislation affecting Freddie Mac;" and "Freddie Mac was a part of the client and revenue base of The Gingrich Group and Gingrich's various small businesses."

But in the latest effort to quash message-distracting talk of a reported $1.6 million haul from work done with Freddie Mac, Gingrich's campaign is apparently done answering questions on whether the candidate was hired to build bridges with congressional Republicans.

Freddie Mac confirmed to CNN Wednesday that Gingrich was a consultant and not a lobbyist.

His work from 1999-2002 and 2006-2008 included consulting about Freddie's efforts to become more transparent about "risk and capital management" procedures, risk information disclosure, and how those efforts would be received in Congress, specifically by Republicans, according to a former official who worked for Freddie Mac during both of his stints.

In his first turn, Freddie Mac worked with Gingrich toward wanting to "bond" with Bush administration officials on the idea of creating a "home ownership society" - getting more Latinos and other minorities into home ownership, the source said.

In the second, Freddie Mac officials tried to get Gingrich, known for intricate policy ideas, to write "white papers" on how good the "model" was for government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie because free-market Republicans didn't like that model, the official said. Freddie Mac officials were frustrated with Gingrich, the source said, because they had a hard time getting him to write anything.

The official and others that CNN talked to disagreed with Gingrich's characterization of himself as a "historian."

Gingrich has blamed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for distorting the home loan market and Democrats for having close ties to Freddie Mac.

"If you want to put people in jail… You ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. And let's look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble," Gingrich said during the Washington Post/Bloomberg GOP debate on October 11.

"In Barney Frank's case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac," Gingrich argued.

- CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand and Brian Todd contributed to this report.


Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C.. Submit your questions for the debate here.


Also see:

Perry says 'privileged' Obama can't relate

Santorum: Republicans 'ignore some realities' on economy

Cain: How do you say that in 'Cuban?'

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Jake

    if you are running for office, and plan to stay in the race, i'm afraid the voters will have the say of when it is the "last word." not you or your camp!

    November 17, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If Republicans are looking for another really corrupt lobbyist to lead them to defeat in 2012, then Newt is the answer to their prayers. He has all those qualifications that baggers hold dear: lobbyist, disgraced elected official, flip flopper, arrogance, that southern view of America, allegiance to the 1%, end to regulations on Wall Street and big banks, continued class warfare against the middle class, women, and poor, and a willingness to see America destroyed, if it means that Obama will not be reelected.

    November 17, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Creating a "home ownership society" was a good idea
    Republicans problems is tea party

    November 17, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Ferret out the B.S.

    This is the GOP that that demands transparency? Yeah right.

    November 17, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Jules

    The last word? Really? Bet not!

    November 17, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Mike from Boise

    Sounds like another politician "Do as I say, not as I do" moment

    November 17, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Uh, Newt ... the voters always get the last word ... especially in the polling booth.

    November 17, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    " Freddie Mac officials were frustrated with Gingrich, the source said, because they had a hard time getting him to write anything."

    They paid him that much, and they got nothing of value? I guess that's in line with the GOP idea on what government should do: nothing. I guess it conflicted with Calista's shopping sprees. Heckuva job, Newtie.

    November 17, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Ferret out the B.S.

    Didn't Hermie Cain say the same thig?

    November 17, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. enuff

    Where is the outrage about transparency? Newt is already showing he would not participate.

    November 17, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. kenny

    Newt is an accomplished and well skilled professional Liar. That is the same qualification required for anyone to be a Politician. The difference between Newt and all other politicians is that he has completed his PHD in Lieology.

    November 17, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. al in memphis

    And let's look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble," Gingrich said

    Well, now is about the time to bring out Michael Jackson song " Man in the Mirror".
    The other funny side of this is that it was that private lenders contributed a larger portion of the mortgage crisis than Fannie or Freddie.
    The government agencies were not out selling risky financial bets on whether the housing market would rise or fall. Nor where they selling insurance against those risky financial bets. Big business form of a casino.

    November 17, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Bruce

    That's rich...after finding out what's in the package, they decided not to release. That's too funny! LMAO.

    November 17, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Max

    Too much baggage

    Gingrich is simply put 'caught again with his trousers down', and he'll always be caught meddling around with women as a married man. Might as well he gives up his pursuit of the republican nomination. He's not the man for the job when he comes with so pieces of baggage, PERIOD!

    November 17, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    I cannot remember a GOP primary like this in modern history.

    November 17, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Dan

    How many variations of the Gingrich Freddie Mac situation are we to have? What is the ulterior motive CNN? Let the American citizens pick their candidate!!

    November 17, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Dave

    It's absolutely hilarious watching these Republican candidates think they can just say "Stop, I'm done answering questions about xxx" No, sorry, if you want to be elected, you have to explain your past actions. This isn't football or basketball, you don't get to call time-outs.

    November 17, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. kevin

    Newt: He is to laugh at. Newt will never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, will be PRESIDENT OF THE UNITER STATES OF AMERICA.

    November 17, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    If only it was his "last word," period.

    November 17, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Joee

    "Last word", period. They went back and found $350,000 a pop, then they decided not to make it public.

    November 17, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. Paqrat137

    Newt is using the George W Bush precedent. You see, GWB did not exist before his "rebirth" after his drinking, and whatever past. Never during the campaigns or while he was the President did we the American people ever learn about the "real Georgie Bush", his people just told us "We're not going to talk about it." So, why shouldn't Newt do the same thing?

    November 17, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. billy

    My last word on Gingrich, "Liar."

    November 17, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Mike

    Sandbag Alert!!! This guy's a joke. Why he is still in any way relevant is beyond me.

    November 17, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Goptfascists Nationalists Party - radical "regressive" bigoted intolerant fanaticism screwing the USA

    What about the "pledge" all the GOPers signed to the lobbyist queen Grovie Norqwist?

    November 17, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Corrupt US

    i'm sorry but if you were paid as a consultant to "build bridges to republicans in office" than that is Lobbying by the definition of the word.

    November 17, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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