Gingrich camp's 'last word' on Freddie Mac
November 17th, 2011
01:30 PM ET
9 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. Rob1961

    Just what the country needs. People who when challenged, refuse to answer fully or give evidence to support their denials.

    November 17, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    The last word? Does that mean that Gingrich is shutting down his campaign? If he wants to be POTUS, then he will have to disclose the nature of the relationship, including any compensation, before he can accept the nomination.

    If his Republican colleagues were smart, they would press the issue before it is too late. Before he builds a big lead in the primaries and accumulates enough delegates to win the nomination. Having to void your party's nominee would be perfect ending to what has been a perfect storm of a political campaign for the Republican nomination.

    If Romney cannot beat this field, then he's totally incompetent. All he has to do is just sit back, wait, and watch.

    November 17, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Phil in KC

    The last word, huh? How'd that work for Herman Cain?

    November 17, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Mark

    Gingrich was the only one there when the budget balanced. Obama was still sucking down financial aid at Harvard! You guys would complain about Ghandi if he was republican.

    November 17, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. GEEP10

    ah yes Newt, and this little piggy went to market!!

    November 17, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. NoTags

    Ok Newt, enough about Freddie Mac, now tell us about your House ethics violations and fine.

    November 17, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

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

    All they have to do is get the records from the accountant who prepared the taxes for Gingrich Group. Compare that figure to what was claimed as a payable by the accountant who prepared the taxes for Freddie Mac.

    This isn't rocket science, folks. It's MATH.

    November 17, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    One more look at his creepy eyes tells me NEVER FORGET his craziness.

    November 17, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Mark, does Obama owe Harvard any financial aid? How is this relevant to the story? Gingrich wanted to ram a 340 Billion dollar tax cut through, and Clinton stopped him. Thank Clinton for balancing the budget, not Newt: I guess you still think its ok for Newt to have a $500,000 revolving charge account at Tiffany's when people are hurting? A real man of the people, isn't he?

    November 17, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Note to Newt Gingrich......"This may be YOUR last word on " Freddie Mac" but believe this...."IT IS NOT THE LAST WORD"!!!! You've been out of control for too long and it's time for you to be put down!! President never,never!!!!

    November 17, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Sergio from Maryland

    According to Newt Gingrich Freddie Mac paid him 1.6 million dollars to advise on Economics, but he claims they did not listen to his advice? He must think that we are a nations of IDIOTS to believe his crap, there should be an investigation by the Attorney General to determine if this was a hush money for the secret work that Newt did while he was the Speaker…

    November 17, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. buckup

    The guy that serves divorce papers to his cancer stricken wife at the hospital, advising the company that was out of control due to republican failure in oversight, par for the course from the wise prince. Make your money and trash anything you touch.

    November 17, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. normajean @ verizon ,com

    To those who stand up for this guy.....Why don't you try reading instead of talking once in a while. His background is notorious but you have to be able to read to get the true picture... WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!

    November 17, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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