Ethics penalty 'reimbursement,' says Gingrich
January 22nd, 2012
09:46 AM ET
6 years ago

Ethics penalty 'reimbursement,' says Gingrich

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich offered further explanation Sunday of the 1997 ethics investigation against him that resurfaced in recent days on the presidential campaign trail.

Speaking to CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley the day after winning South Carolina’s primary, Gingrich characterized the $300,000 penalty leveled by the House Ethics Committee as reimbursement for the cost of the investigation.

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Gingrich also claimed he persuaded fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote “yes” on the ethics charges against him in order to put a swift end to the proceedings. Doing so helped lawmakers move on the balancing the budget, Gingrich said.

“I personally asked House Republicans to vote ‘yes’ because we had to get it behind us to get back to the things that mattered,” Gingrich said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

According to the nonpartisan fact check group PolitiFact, Gingrich was reprimanded by the House and ordered to pay a $300,000 penalty in 1997 for violating an ethics rule.

The violation originated in a course he taught at Kennesaw State College, which organizers claimed qualified for tax-exempt status, PolitiFact reported. The House Ethics Committee ultimately concluded the course was run to "help in achieving a partisan, political goal,” making it ineligible for tax exemption, according to PolitiFact.

Central to the 1997 investigation was a letter submitted by Gingrich’s lawyers, which the ethics panel deemed inaccurate. Gingrich conceded Sunday the letter was a mistake.

“It was a mistake,” Gingrich said. “So the one mistake I made was signing a letter written by our lawyers, a firm which frankly did me a great disservice. And that's the only thing.”

PolitiFact noted that the charge against Gingrich was an ethics violation, though the $300,000 penalty was considered reimbursement for the ethics committee’s investigation.

On Sunday, Gingrich derided rival Mitt Romney’s calls for him to release documents related to the investigation, saying the former Massachusetts governor was in no position to call for greater transparency.

“It’s almost bizarre,” Gingrich said. “Here's a governor whose staff erased all of the computers for Romneycare. He's released no information on how they developed Romneycare. Here's a governor who has not yet released his taxes.”

Romney said Sunday he intends to release his 2010 tax return on Tuesday.

Also see:

South Carolina insiders dissect Gingrich win

Santorum stresses his own staying power in three-way race

Ross defends Gingrich ex-wife interview

Gingrich plans major speeches, including one on space

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. CoJo

    someone needs to explain to me what Gingrich has done for me or the public since he was ousted out of the speaker of the house by his own party. Someone needs to explain t what has he done to show (concrete facts) that he has changed since his own party didn't want his to lead. How do I know he has really changed? All I hear is he has lobbied for himself to get richer!!!!! What makes me think he won't be as back (or worse) as a president as he was as a speaker? If he thinks the speaker of the house was a tough job, how is he going to handle the presidency? He may be book smart but cannot apply is knowledge... I have known a lot of of book smart people that just cannot put their knowledge into practice..

    January 22, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. Rick

    Ok, if all was no big deal, why resign his Speakership and then his seat in Congress?

    January 22, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. randme

    Nothing like a good swift kick in the butt (South Carolina) to get a politician to move.

    January 22, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. CoJo

    don’t forget, Gingrich was part of the establishment that created the rules that allowed the investment firms and banks to setup a finance meltdown scheme and then bet against it. Costing people homes and jobs and their retirements. It has been reported this started all the way back to Reagan era (his hero?). And now he’s complain that Ronmey was more successful in using the rules he helped create. He’s just jealous that he was not able to use the rules as well Romney. He admitted he was part of the group that created the rules. Ron Paul admitted in the debate that the republicans had control of the house, the senate and the president but did nothing or worse, they created the finance mess. Now Gingrich wants to do it all over again? Has any republican stated how reduce regulations will keep it from happening again? Come on republicans, speak up.

    January 22, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. BD70

    Yes Clinton cheated..but he was already in office. Chances are real good he might not have been elected if he had cheated before running for president. Newt has cheated a couple of times...he is a liar and was booted as Speaker because of his shady dealings. Why would I vote for him to be POTUS knowing all that ahead of time? He has a character flaw...he doesn't practice what he preaches.

    January 22, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. yogi

    Is that what we need in the White House, a screaming dictator? Gingrich is a dangerous man in any position, in his personal life, and in politics. He conquers by destruction, just as in his past life as Napoleon. No thank you.
    Obama 2012 🙂

    January 22, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. sensible

    Just like a don't pay the costs if you are not guilty!!

    January 22, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. paul

    It is clear that morality and family values are not important to S.C. voters. If Newt can convince them that he has "repented" and has their best interests in mind then I have some valuable swampland for sale. Time to stay awake and pay attention the next time you attend church.

    January 22, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. steve harnack

    And if you don't like THAT spin......."I originally made the ethics violations just so I could convince the Republican leadership to put me on trial SO I could talk them into voting guilty, thus proving that I had the most powerful men in the palm of my hands"

    January 22, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Gino

    Another whopper from The Whopper (with cheese).

    January 22, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Doremus Jessup

    I love how Newt Gingrich pretends he's never heard of Lee Atwater and the Southern Strategy. Gingrich authored a memo in 1996 titled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" where he suggests that his Republican colleagues use positive words such as commitment, principled, tough, decisive etc. to describe themselves.  He suggested they use what he called contrasting words such as bizarre, cheat, traitors, welfare etc. to describe his political opponents. 

    Newt Gingrich knows exactly what he's doing when he uses the phrase "food stamp President"

    January 22, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Keeping Track

    We know why CNN is in last place when it comes to news worthy information. Just last Thursday their polls said Romney will get 33 % of SC votes and Newt 23%. Hang it up Turner, your bias information isnt informative enouth to wipe with.

    January 22, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Spin Doctor

    Hey, as Romney pointed out the other day, $300,000 isn't that much money.

    January 22, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. A Dad

    Newt, "Read my lips: I'm not a lobbyist. I pledge marital fidelity [after 2 divorces]. Clinton's infidelity was the work of the Devil; mine is forgiven. My nose really isn't growing like Pinocchio's."

    January 22, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Olaf Big

    Congratulations to Newt for winning SC primary, and congratulations to Barack Obama for Newt winning the SC primary. Newt is unelectable, he carries too much baggage and he projects an image of a mean old man. Of course, republican establishment understands that too, and Mitt will be nominated, despite rednecks having a field day now and then, but by that time he will suffer so much damage from Gingrich, who will now stop at nothing, that Obama will have to do little more than deliver a coup-de-grace.

    January 22, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    What kind of alternative universe is this? SC voters turn down a handsome, successful family man for an unpleasant, known philanderer whom his own party dumped for ethics violations? Could this election get any stranger?

    January 22, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. MIKE

    There is not one word this man can say that I would believe! He is not presidential material. If he was running for a private job and listed all his past issues, he would never be hired! The same in the US. The fact the Tea Party backs him is enough to let me know, I want nothing to do with him! When he said Sara Palin would have a position in his administration that was the final blow!

    January 22, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Whatever

    Oh so Newt received a bail out and paid it back with interest??????????????!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. yogi

    Gingrich is always making a lot of noise, trying to cover his bad conscience. He seems smart but that is all there is, in reality it is pompous acting without substance, he is a wannabee intellectual.

    January 22, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. SecedingfromTexas

    "There's no way I would want my picture next to Candy Crowley's the Obama lover"
    Don't worry Field1stSgt, it won't happen. But even if it did, Candy Crowley would be the gracious lady she always
    is, even to you.

    January 22, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. chrystal055

    Obama is a Socialist,and Newt is a Real American!Anyone who Disagree,is Anti-American!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Brian Dodge

    It wasn't a fine – it was "reimbursement";
    He didn't lie – they were "misstatements";
    He doesn't cheat – he has a "unilaterally open marriage";
    any other questions?

    January 22, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Bigwilliestyles

    You people that run this political ticker are a joke. You allow borderline racist comments regularly, yet you diligently pull every post that I put up. This because I openly identify myself as Black, and have the nerve to be critical of white politicians and some of their racist supporters. You think that because you hide in cyberspace that you cannot be touched, but eventually your racism will catch you as it has caught many others before you. You only prove my point that the fabric of the inst.I.tutions of this country are inherently racist.

    January 22, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. bobden

    Hard to beleive that the repubs will actually nominate any of the clowns running for the nomination.

    January 22, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Len Smith

    Gingrich just keeps on demeaning the American people and especially the American Black, but underneath it all he demeans everyone except Newt.

    January 22, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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