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.

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @politicalticker

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. Matt

    I honestly believe CNN would rather see Newt as president (even after he blasts them on national television) than Ron Paul – who is the only REAL candidate with REAL solutions to fix our country, no matter how painful those solutions are, they will be forced upon us eventually if we continue electing Washington insiders or members of the super rich 1% who continually sacrifice the well being of the average American in order to line their pockets. CNN (and most media) won't give Paul the time of day because he threatens their relationship with big government, and ultimately their political power, influence, and $$$$$$$. I used to be a liberal, but Ron Paul hit's the nail on the head. You would think the liberal minded individuals would get behind Paul and actually mention him? Even the poll on your home page shows he has the most support? What is wrong with you CNN??? Don't make me start watching FOX News!

    January 20, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    hee heee heeee

    Gotta stock up on pop corn.

    January 20, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. bbear1

    In last night's debate, why didn't CNN's John King ask Romney about his Cayman Island bank accounts.

    January 20, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. 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 the nutjob from Pennsylvania drop out. Romney is crying out at the thought of a unified conservative base coalescing behind Gingrich for the big FL primary.

    January 20, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Max.

    CRAZY is the word...

    It's CRAZY to see two republican NUTS battling for first place in South Carolina at the expense of the ONLY two SOBER candidates offered up for election: Santorum and Huntsman. This really shows how disconnected South Carolina's are with real issues. The religious junkies seems to be having fun proving how narrow-minded they are with regards to political reality. Religion will NEVER run this's really, really, CRAZY!!

    January 20, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Gurgi

    I think almost anyone would be a better president that the current occupier of the white house. But, good for Obama in saying he would veto the SOPA and PIPA if they came across his desk. One of the few times I think he did the right thing and I agree with him. Ok Rudy, don't have a cow.

    January 20, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Praise_The_Lard

    Hey Matt - CNN hasn't been liberal in years, buddy. Get up to speed. They've been hyping war with Iran for over a year, and they've been pitching Romney and Newt to us for months.

    January 20, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. RobertFTL

    If President Obama had to show his long form birth certificate, then Mitt should reveal at least 12 of his last tax returns like his father did! We need to see how much money he has offshore that he hasn't paid taxes on and how he would benefit from the policies he would pass if he became president. There is such a thing call conflict of interest...

    January 20, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    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!
    Excellent point Fair... And might I add WITH A REPUBLICAN HOUSE AND SENATE!! Yes, you do not have to go back t the Clinton days to find a long period of growth and prosperity but the leftists like to portray all of Bush's 8 years in office as an economic downturn.

    BTW, the years Romney was Governor, there was a LABOR shortage, not a job shortage. Unemployment was well below 5% in MA, but the deceitful leftists won't tell you that.

    January 20, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. RepubsMakeNoSense

    What does Romney being rich have to do with his tax returns? Isn't he the one that boasted he balanced the budget in his state every year? How long has it been a common practice for candidates to release their returns? Isn't this Romney's second attempt at the GOP Nomination?

    It makes any right-thinking individual what, what kind of Governor/Business he really was... The guy is corrupt and it smells to the heavens.

    January 20, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    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
    he paid exactly what he was required to under the law which IS HIS FAIR SHARE. Looney leftists don't get to decide this, the tax laws do. Did Obama overpay his taxes? Doubt it.

    And people can invest abroad and they do all the time. Absolutely nothing illegal about it. Enough with the baseless smears.

    January 20, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. Jane

    I worry about poster called "Jariv"; he/she is so far up Romney's a** how can he/she keep from tripping over the furniture and injuring something....

    January 20, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. bullock w

    Oh my God I want tell truth people what happened about fraud check scam

    January 20, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. Jake

    Romeny...disassociate yourself with Gov Haley! she will be an albatross in the long haul!

    January 20, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Jariv wrote:

    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.
    Gov. Romney has been running for POTUS for at least the past six years. He has had a long, long head start to prepare himself for these inevitable quesitons. From the beginiing, he has thought that he could weasel his way through the primaries and later hopefully the general election.

    He has already flip-flopped on this issue several times over the past few weeks. He has shifted from No to Maybe, and is till resisting Yes. Besides, if he was truly this ignorant of the tradition and caught unawares [ a tradition started by his own father no less ] and the expectations that would placed upon his shoulders, then he lacks the incite to be POTUS.

    January 20, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Fair – The point is that your job creating hero, the Caymen Kid, did not create jobs during the best of times. Obama inherited the Bush mess, and has seen the growth of over 3 million jobs.

    January 20, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Jariv

    @RepubsMakeNoSense - If you have never been rich you might not Understand. Taxes are not simple. Hundreds of pages that need to be looked at. I am not Rich by the way, but I know this from accountants. The guy is not corrupt in any ways. I promise you that. You will see when he shows his taxes and in the future.

    January 20, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Jariv must be a Romney.

    January 20, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Marcus

    Truth and Fair is Fair – You guys forgot to mention that the economic 'boom' you're talking about was but an economic bubble, or if you prefer 'an inflated speculation, especially if fraudulent' according to the dictionary...
    How could you (pretend to) forget that?

    January 20, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I really enjoy seeing the crazy right wingnuts circle their wagons around little Mittens. Corporate Raider, Caymen tax evader, job destroyer, flip flopper, chicken hawk, are conservative qualities I despise.

    January 20, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Truth wrote:

    he paid exactly what he was required to under the law which IS HIS FAIR SHARE. Looney leftists don't get to decide this, the tax laws do. Did Obama overpay his taxes? Doubt it.

    And people can invest abroad and they do all the time. Absolutely nothing illegal about it. Enough with the baseless smears.
    ON this point, I agree. The rate that he pays on his taxes is irrelevant.

    The fact that he does not wish to disclose whether or not he has any conflicts of interest is the real issue. We cannot elect someone to the White House who works for a bigger master. No way. The fact that his own tax proposals would probably lower his annual tax debt to something less than what a bus driver pays, while raising it on the poor and lower middle class, is the real issue.

    January 20, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Jariv

    @Jane - I feel sorry for you. I am a supporter and I believe in something. You should write with the use of common sense. When you say he doesn't know basic math is pure stupidity! How can he have become so wealthy without it. You make yourself look stupid.

    January 20, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. ZErcolano

    Follow the link and you can read the report. If you get more than 10 pages into it without wanting to vomit at the hypocrisy of the purported ethics violations, then you are an idiot. the complaint and findings relate to 2 projects the Speaker engaged in to promote a view of American culture and society, one was a college course and the other a video program connected to a new voter recruitment program. The crux of the complaint and findings hinges on the use of tax deductible funds (via 501c3) to develop these programs and that they then advocated toward a political view.

    The hypocrisy here is in the direct comparisons to the uber-liberal programs and ultra-left-leaning educational elite that has for many decades recieved tax free monies or even taxpayer funds to preach and recruit people to a liberal viewpoint.

    The greatest fault that I can find in Gingrich's conduct through the ethics investigation and final report is that he should have worked harder to find competent counsel to argue his case and represent that what he did was within the confines of the law, ethical, and did not reflect badly on the house in any way.

    January 20, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Ricky Bobby

    Why Romney was singled out to share his tax returns is beyond me. Anyone falling for this garbage are total sheep and highly suggestible. It's just a ploy by his rivals to make him squirm and influence public opinion, as was Romney's invitation for Gingrich to release these records.

    January 20, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Jatovi

    Wow. Someone is a little sensitive about their tax returns. I wonder what he could be hiding.

    January 20, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
1 2 3