Gingrich fires back at lobbying charge
November 15th, 2011
04:43 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich fires back at lobbying charge

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich fired back Tuesday at accusations that he was paid to lobby Republicans on behalf of mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

"I was up there and that's just not true," he told CNN. "I have never lobbied."

"Let me make it very clear," the GOP contender continued. "There were no contracts at any time we took with anybody that involved lobbying."

Gingrich, who's recently seen a rise popularity according to national polls, faced down a Bloomberg News report that alleged the former House Speaker was hired to gain GOP support on Capitol Hill as the government-backed mortgage company came under fire during the subprime mortgage meltdown.

Answering questions about his involvement during a recent debate of 2012 Republican presidential candidates, Gingrich asserted, "I have never done any lobbying. Every contract that was written during the period when I was out of the office, specifically said I would do no lobbying, and I offered advice.

"And my advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, 'We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that's what the government wants us to do,' as I said to them at the time, 'This is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible.' "

Asked whether his "advice" included benefits about the Freddie Mac model at a Tuesday campaign event in Sheffield, Iowa, Gingrich said, "Let me draw a distinction: Government-sponsored enterprises which includes the Transcontinental Railroad has a long history of being fairly successful. Now that doesn't mean with bad management and with bad ideas that it can't be a failure. But in the long run it's actually been a useful model for the country overall."

"But I did no lobbying of any kind. That's all I've got to say about it," he insisted.

As a reporter attempted to ask another question, Gingrich cut him off: "That's all I've got to say about it."

- CNN's Jim Acosta and Erika Dimmler contributed to this report.

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Gloria Cain: I never believed allegations were true

Filed under: 2012 • Financial Reform • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Jaywing

    Actually, given his sly history, I wouldn't be surprised if the Newt really didn't lobby anybody, just as he claims. Instead, he probably just took the money from the interested parties and when they asked him to push their agenda, simply laughed and gave them the finger as he rode out of town with the loot.

    November 16, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. donny deutsh

    why would anyone defend this? it is a scam. $1.6 million for one line of advice. (yeah, newt predicted the meltdown). don't defend this fellow tea partyers. newt was for cap and tax, the individual insurance mandate, immigration "reform"/amnesty, and appeared in a commercial with princess pelosi on global warming. he will say anything. we need to think for ourselves and reject pretenders.

    November 16, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. George

    Newt was pleasantly surprised that his 2011-2012 book tour has vaulted him near the lead for the GOP presidential nomination.....

    November 16, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Norm

    Oh poor Newt....another GOP "victim".
    It's sheer arrogance on his part to assume he's invulnerable to the sleaze of his past.
    Republican conservatives live in their own little special world.
    The media will make short work of him just like they did to the last few front runners.
    "Republican Social Engineering" anyone????????
    These people make me sick.
    Their money and arrogance isn't going to win them anything but another disgrace.
    Try again in 2016....but don't hold your breath.

    November 16, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. Robert

    Newt, you will not be the nominee, why don't you spare us the back and forth?

    November 16, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Laverne

    This guy lost his job in congress because from being unethical and now he wants to be POTUS, this guy has the audacity to look the American people in the eye and say trust me! I don't think so Newt, you are foul and I hope the media and other republican candidates stick it to him!

    November 16, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    then I'm not going to worry about how a private citizen who hasn't been government for over a decade makes his money.
    But WHY? WHY? WHY has Gngrich NOT been in government for over a decade?
    WHY did he leave? HOW did he leave? Don't you want to know? Don't you?
    The scandal, the shame of it all.

    November 16, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. ThinkAgain

    @Rick C: "It seems to me that the Press is trying to destroy every Republican candidate except the one they think they can beat."

    It's not the press' fault that all these GOP candidates are so dismal. I would think that as a defender of freedom and the Constitution, not to mention a true patriot, you would want the truth about these yahoos to come out so that Americans make the right choice when voting for not only the leader of our country, but the leader of the free world.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    November 16, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. ST

    Gingrich has already served the country in a higher post as Speaker. Why is he looking for another highest position? What is the motivation??

    November 16, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Eagle Eye

    As I said that starting in November 2011 is the start of the real campaigning all the dirty tricks are going to start. What the Obama dirty tricks machine and the liberal press are dong is they are going after the weak candidates first. Finding as much dirt as they can, example look what happened to Herman Cain he had high poll numbers but after the sexual harassment fiasco his numbers are starting to slide. So now they are going at the Former Speaker of the House Newt Gringrich. I think the dirty tricks machine and the liberal press are going to have to watch their step on the former Speaker. If there's one thing that Newt has he knows where all the skeletons are buried. This is a guy who can turn on the Obama dirty tricks team and liberal press real fast it push were to come to shove. In a debate between Obama and Newt, Obama would be knocked out in the first round. Obama may be President but Newt know how Washington works because he was a wispor away from the Presidency. This is a guy the liberal press should stay away from if they know what's good for them.

    November 16, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    @Terri Mafazy: "I think we are all so weary of superficial charm as the number 1 requirement for POTUS, I now want brains, bravery, and balls."

    Then vote for Obama/Biden in 2012!


    November 16, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    bobby frank

    I think he is where he is because they are running out of idiots and now he is the top dog
    My point exactly.

    November 16, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. nat turner

    This clown thinks he's such an intellectual who can talk his way out of anything! He tries to moderate the debates, attempts to deflect and change questions asked of him and generally is an obnoxious, arrogant individual. As his stock rises, so will all his little foibles, i.e. adultery, lying, fraud, etc

    November 16, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. jim

    Draw all the distinctions you want, Newt, but JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION. Straight up, yes or no?

    November 16, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Whammybar

    Okay, all you ever hear, even from some of the canadites is how we need fresh blood and attitudes in Washington and old school career politician Gingrich takes the lead for the republicans? Huh? Kinda backwards don't ya think?

    November 16, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. It is sad

    Honest to God, Newts campaign ad ask you to not look back (his past) and look at the new Newt. That takes the cake. At least we know the kind of trouble the old Newt caused... makes me even more scared of the new Newt.

    November 16, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Joe

    The worst kind of fraud is the kind who believe their own lies. Newt wins the prize.

    November 16, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. Mikey

    Newt is a liar and a self important jackass that has always been surrounded by controversy...and he still is. Romney is so clean and vanilla that I'm sure they'll find nothing on him and he will ultimately be the GOP nominee. Which is a joke since they didn't want him last time. Ultimately he will lose to Obama out of default, not to mention that Obama will bury him with his flip flopping in any he has no foreign policy at all. The GOP is really digging their own grave.

    November 16, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Mikey

    These folks are like Carnival Barkers. Gingrich is constantly mentioning and promoting some book that he's like his own personal book tour.

    November 16, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. FLIndependent

    "Obama may be President but Newt know how Washington works because he was a wispor away from the Presidency."
    Are you part of the same group that wants and outsider? I'm so confused with what you Repub/Tea Partiers wants. You flip flop way more than Mitt!

    November 16, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. lgny

    "Former Freddie Mac officials familiar with his work in 2006 say Gingrich was asked to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it." They also paid him much more than the $300K initially reported.

    So, technically he did not lobby but he provided the insights and materials to make their lobbying effective. It's all the standard political hair-splitting.

    November 16, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Thing55

    Yeah, right. They paid Newt $300,000 for "historical" perspective and advice. If you believe that, you'll believe just about anything.

    November 16, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Please stop blaming the media for making these guys look like losers, they are shooting themselves in the foot left and right; skeletons are tumbling out of closets and cupboards with NO doors; they are 'Jihading' themselves quite nicely without any help.
    The media is actually trying to give these yokels the benefit of a doubt by spinning their stories twenty ways till Sunday.

    November 16, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    "President Obama has plenty of history, if you do not know it, it is your fault for not being informed."
    Oh, he has plenty of history all right. Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, and the "Reverend" Wright come to mind...

    November 16, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  25. Gary

    He got my vote. He is the only one who has a proven history of addressing the very issues the next president will have to take on. He is the single most successful speaker in the last 70 years. He changed the terms of politics and reduced the power of the white house. This non story is pretty much worthless. For those accusing him of the ethics violations. Please look back. Newt's peers in congress determined that it was inappropriate for him to use PAC money to put his classes taught as a professor at Kennesaw State University on TV because the demand was so much the school did not have enough room for the students and the visitors that wanted to watch and audit the class. He did not violate any law. His peers felt it was innappropraite. Hardly the criminal you make him out to be. As far as his wives. Divorce happens. He first wife was one of his professors at West Georgia College. She should have gotten fired for dating a student. His second wife was just a witch. New wife seems nice. One day I hope to be successful enough to by my wife everything she wants. But back to Newt. He is smarter than you. He is smarter than the people you are for. That is why you fear him. Listen to a speach, notice he knows it and is not reading it. A true political genious.

    November 16, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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