Romney to Gingrich: Release your ethics report
January 20th, 2012
02:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney to Gingrich: Release your ethics report

Gilbert, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney opened up a new line of attack against his main South Carolina rival Newt Gingrich Friday, calling on the former speaker to release the full report from the ethics investigation that led to his downfall in Congress.

"You know it's going to get out before the general election. He ought to get it out now," Romney said on Friday.

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Gingrich was reprimanded by the House and ordered to pay a $300,000 penalty in 1997 for violating an ethics rule. The episode marked the first time in the nation's history a speaker was penalized by Congress.

Romney urged Gingrich to make the full ethics report available to South Carolina voters before Saturday's primary.

"I wouldn't release things piecemeal. Do it all at once," he told reporters after an event in Gilbert, South Carolina.

A Gingrich spokesman brushed off the attack and said the report is already available to read online.

"Mitt should go to Thomas at the Library of Congress website and search 'already been released' and read the report in the Congressional record," R.C. Hammond said.

The report appears on the Library of Congress web site as well as the website of the House Ethics Committee.

Romney's communications director said the governor was calling on Gingrich to release underlying documents he had provided to the ethics committee during the investigation.

"Given Speaker Gingrich's newfound interest in disclosure and transparency, and his concern about an 'October surprise,' he should authorize the release of the complete record of the ethics proceedings against him," Gail Gitcho said.

"We know from Newt's own statements that he turned over a million pages of documents. Nancy Pelosi, who sat on the ethics committee, said that this information contains damaging information. Nancy Pelosi is gleeful over the information she has on Speaker Gingrich, and Speaker Gingrich is concerned enough to threaten her with a rules violation. If Nancy Pelosi has this information, Barack Obama has this information."

The former Massachusetts governor recently faced disclosure questions of his own, as reporters pressed him on his varying responses on when he would release his tax records.

"I've indicated that I will release my tax returns. I'll do so when they're prepared which would be April, first, middle part of April and then they'll all come out at one time," Romney said.

He added that there would be multiple returns released.

"There will be more than one year. I don't know the exact number," Romney said.

One of Romney's top surrogates, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, chastised the news media for repeatedly raising the question this week.

"The people of South Carolina are not talking about tax returns," Haley said.

"I've heard more people wondering about why you people aren't asking about ethics reports and ethics problems with the Gingrich campaign and nobody is talking about tax returns," Haley added.

Romney brushed off the boos he received during Thursday's CNN debate when he suggested that releasing his returns would provide ammunition to his opponents.

"So different campaigns cheer and boo different people based upon the interest of their campaign," Romney said.

Romney dismissed the notion that he mishandled the issue.

"I can't possibly tell you that everything I do in a campaign is perfect," Romney said.

The GOP frontrunner appeared to downplay expectations ahead of Saturday's primary, noting Gingrich's regional advantage as a southerner.

"Speaker Gingrich is from a neighboring state, well-known, popular in the state. And so I knew we'd have a long road ahead of us," Romney said.

"And frankly to be in a neck-and-neck race at this last moment is kind of exciting," he added.

The former Massachusetts governor acknowledged he may not be able wrap up the nomination as quickly as many pundits once predicted.

"We're gonna go on for a long race and I think I've got the staying power and a message that I think connects with people."

Also see:

Perry drops out, endorses Gingrich

Judge-drawn Texas redistricting map tossed out by Supreme Court

Gingrich releases 2010 federal tax records

Santorum tries to shoulder past Romney, Gingrich in debate

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • South Carolina
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    First release your Tax Return

    January 20, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    It is not Mr. Gingrich's call on whether or not "underlying documents" associated with his ethics violations can or cannot be released. It would be a violation of House Congressional rules to release anything wihtout at least a vote by a House committee. If Mitt Romney understood Congress, he would already know that. Perhaps he is hoping that the public is ignorant of these facts. Newt cannot even discuss the content, much less release actual documents.

    January 20, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |

    The dirty tricks GOBP will attack Newt like wild dogs when he wins. I've got my popcorn ready

    January 20, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Jane

    Romney: "I don't know the total number"; "I'm not sure what my tax rate is", "Don't know how many returns I'll show". Sheesh, for someone who wants us to believe he's a business genius and economic guru, he's pretty weak on basic math.......

    January 20, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Former Republican, but never again!

    Romney is full of it! He's trying to deflect the issue of his tax returns by bringing up the ethics report WHICH IS ALREADY A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD! What a piece of --!

    January 20, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. PeppeRiviera

    That a boy, Romney, hit him right back.

    January 20, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. Jariv

    Romney 2012 !!! The Only Person with the Structure, Discipline, and Money to Beat Obama. That is a fact.

    January 20, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Bill

    Is that loser Haley joined to Romney at the hip or what? If he thinks her support is helpful, think again.

    January 20, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Patriot Awesome

    I love watching these jerks turn on each other.

    January 20, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. S.positive

    gop, what a shame...

    January 20, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. Mimi

    Newt and Romney both for individual mandate, climate change, and tarp. Both too much like Obama for me. Santorum all the way!

    January 20, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Thomas

    One of Romney's top surrogates, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, chastised the news media for repeatedly raising the question this week.

    "The people of South Carolina are not talking about tax returns," Haley said.

    I'd like to see Haleys tax return , she's not the most honest of apples !

    January 20, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    OK, I like that Romney is showing some fight here. Come on Romney, fight back like Newt just tossled your hair! Let us know you can get down and dirty with a knife fighter if that's what it takes, and it will with Obama and his union thugs.

    January 20, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Jariv

    @Former Republican, but never again! - You are full of it. I think you did pay attention to everything in the article. Let me refrace it, I KNOW you did not pay attention to everything. They are asking for what has not been released.

    @Jane – He is wealthy and has millions of things he needs to do before they are released. I bet you cant remember exactly what is on your taxes 10 years ago, and if you were running for president and were going to release them, you need to make sure you have reviewed them and make sure you know what everything is so you can answer all the questions that will come from them. Its not easy, and if you are a fair person you would understand.

    January 20, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. Texas rules

    If I was Newt I say I will release them the minute you release your tax returns. That's fair.

    January 20, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Alex

    That fact that he doesn't pay his fair share of taxes and even sends money to offshore accounts so that he doesn't have to pay taxes is absolutely a question of ethics for someone who wants to lead this country.

    January 20, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Woman In California

    Oooooo someone is getting nervous. Could it be Willard is falling apart?


    January 20, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Omari Dice

    “Romney should not backed away or, more properly slung away, from being up front with the American people. He is eager to say a lot about how successful he is and how his adversarie­s are critical so, he should show the world just how successful he really is. Newt has his out for examinatio­n, Ron Paul said no and his tax returns are probably not very interestin­g anyway. Santorum kinda said he would. He is probably nervous about all the lobbyist earnings he has in his report. Santorum may like to tout himself as the coal miner's kin but his lifestyle in DC is a longways from the mines. In the end no one should be surprised that whether Romney, Gingrich or Santorum are elected the people can expect more of the Bush philosophy of tax cuts and corporate welfare so just take your pick, they are all pretty much the same

    January 20, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. Jake

    Gingrich released a single year's tax return just last night. No other candidate has released their returns, or has any specific plans to do so. So why does Romney take all the heat on this? Answer: it's all his opponents have to hang on to. He's a man of integrity, vision, and leadership, and he's proved that in the private sector, in the Olympics, and in executive government. The others don't even come close. I'm voting for Mitt.

    January 20, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Being 47th in job creation in MA, during a time when our country was undergoing a huge economic boom period, is not something to brag about.
    Hey Wire – Mitt was governor from 2003 – 2007. Right in the middle of the Bush years and just before the democrats took the house. Thanks for letting us all know that you agree that this time was a "huge economic boom period". Thank you – Please come again!

    January 20, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. wrong turn

    Choosing a MORAL CHARACTER LIKE NEWT is lIKE choosing PALY BOY to run this country!!!

    January 20, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Omari Dice

    Romney's tax plan would raise taxes on the poor to fund a $300,000 tax cut for people that make over $1 million a year.

    Why doesn't he just eat the poor while he's at it?

    January 20, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Al-NY,NY

    Mittens is starting to feel the pressure and his ugly side is coming out.....what fun!!

    January 20, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. donna

    While I agree, I think that Romney's chance to ask this was during the debate. This type of thing makes Romney look like he needs to be counseled on what to say, but can't think on his own. Not something we want in a President.

    January 20, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Praise_The_Lard

    The paid shills in Romney's camp are scrambling to do damage control. It's a bit late, folks - after a close race in SC between Gingrich and Romney you will see Santorum drop out. Romney is soiling his magic underwear at the thought of a unified conservative base coalescing behind Gingrich for the big FL primary.

    January 20, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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