Ethics penalty 'reimbursement,' says Gingrich
January 22nd, 2012
09:46 AM ET
11 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. beevee

    This guy is liar , he can see into your eyes and lie. And he has a big mouth to scoff at people just as he did to John King of CNN the debate moderator. I am surprised that John King did not follow up his question after Gingrich's angry response. if he did Gingrich would not have won in SC.

    January 22, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. JohnReedjr

    This guy is nothing but a lying, opportunistic, philandering sleaze ball. To think that the country I fought for might elect someone as cynical and dishonest as he is makes me cry tears of rage.

    January 22, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    “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
    They don’t like you Newt now; they are saying if you get the nominee it will hurt the party

    January 22, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Michelle

    It doesn't matter what the fine covered. It makes sense that the fine was to cover the cost of the investigation. He was still guilty of an ethics violation. Newt was also pocketing millions of dollars from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while those two organizations were doing their part in crashing the American economy. The "moral majority" party has such a lack of morals and ethics and the people keep voting to reward that. Interesting that Newt hasn't released his taxes from 2010 or 2011 yet, but he was able to derail Romney's campaign because he hasn't. What a hypocrite. But we've known that for a long time. He was leading the charge to impeach Clinton for having an affair while Newt, himself, was having one. What a sad, sad state of intelligence and morals our country is in.

    January 22, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Keith in Austin

    Funny that all you Liberal gutter snipes attack Gingrich on ethics! The Party of Kennedy, Clinton, Frank, Weiner.... Hahahahaha-hypocrits!

    The real issues involve our Economy, National Defense and Liberal crack-addict like spending! All of which Obama has failed miserably. Admit it folks, the Country NEEDS Conservative Change NOW! Gingrich, Romney, Santorum or Paul would ALL be a HUGE improvement to the Divider-In-Chief printing Food Stamps today!

    January 22, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    does America really want a man in office where the FLOTUS would have been his mistress and has been convicted of ethics violations? If this does indeed happen I will among the first out yelling "I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!!"

    January 22, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. romneyzda1

    Who has the cleaner record? Newt or Mitt? The only dirt on Mitt is that he has been successful and has gotten more conservative. Newt has broken the law, several marriages, idolizes the worst presidents in american history and is an egomaniac. Romney knows how to be successfull and make america successful. Newt can pull one liners in debates. Lets not put another egomaniac that talks good in the white house. Vote for Mitt the turn around artist.

    January 22, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Winston

    But I guess it's perfectly ok with liberals to have a Secretary of the Treasury that does'nt pay his taxes. Ethics????

    January 22, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. FIELD1stSGT

    There's no way I would Want my picture next to Candy Crowley's the Obama lover. Her assessment means nothing expect to the minority of Obama supporters. They love bashing such as Sarah Palin but fail to realize what a tremendous following she has. When it comes to power and smarts Obama does not get out of the outhouse his brain is in. YES A GINRICH/PALIN TICKET WOULD BE TREMENDOUS.

    January 22, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. GI Joe

    If you don't remember history, then the most vile of the vile, the most hated (by his own party), may be the tyrant put into the White House

    I'm having bumper stckers prnted in advance -- 'IMPEACH GINGRICH". Want to pre-order now? Believe me, he'll give us plenty of reasons within his first few months.

    January 22, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    FIELD – Sooner or later, you are going to have to accept the fact that we have a black president who has turned our country around from the republican near depression. Single issue voters make up the minority of our population.

    January 22, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Jerry from Dallas

    Newt got a point here! Romney should produce records for whatever he did as Governor. It is worth releasing alongside his taxes,health records and birth certificates. We Republicans pushed Obama to release his. Why not our Mitt?

    January 22, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. TomNPtt

    He's a Confederate Walrus. As long as he trashes the North, The President and the Press he'll get the Stars and Bars vote. But i doubt he'll even be able to get any of the moderate Republican vote – that's the non-south Republicans!!

    January 22, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. romneyzda1

    Nobody called it a reimbursement at the time. Newt had done wrong and he confessed. The republicans removed him from office over it. This was no small thing Newt. His only experience as a leader ended in shame. Do we want that in the whitehouse. Mitt has succeeded in everything he has lead. Give Mitt a chance, he can turn this country around. Newt can feed his ego and cheat in more ways than one. That's it.

    January 22, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mitt is the 'turn around artist,' sounds better than 'serial flip flopper.' Mittens is running on creating jobs, (Obama has 23 consecutive months of private sector job growth resulting in 3 million jobs) smaller government (Obama has 260,000 fewer government workers than "W") lower taxes, (Obama gave the lowest taxes in 50 years), and Mittens wants to start a war with Iran.

    Obama has also overseen the elimination of bin Laden, Ghadafi, and a host of al Qaida leaders, and has kept us safe.

    January 22, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. Dennis Freeman

    Oh, that Newt is a beauty the way he tries to explain anything. If this gig doesn't work out, maybe he can be a captain on a cruise ship and trip into a life boat.

    January 22, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. RS, CA

    To Wire Palladin:

    FYI, most of us accept the fact that we have a black president without any reservation whatsoever. What we do NOT accept (and believe our country deserves better) is an individual who had no experience, no qualifications, no educational records we can assess (other than a self-promoting "autobiography") - who was elected ONLY BECAUSE he is black!

    January 22, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    RS – Glad you said most, referring to at least 50% of the GOP? He was only elected because he was black says a lot about your agenda. As for educational records, is that the new birther chant? You really need to seek help.

    January 22, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. lisaj

    The ethics violation charges were BS! His opponents did not like him so they worked hard to try to destroy him and get him out of office and if that meant thinking of anything they possibly could to do so, then so be it. Just about ALL of the charges were dropped and he explained the one that stuck. This is garbage that I think will only help Gingrich if anyone continue to try to push it. The more he and his allies explains it, the more the voters will see that it was nothing more than a vendetta against Gingrich and I do believe this will work in his favor! Whenever someone tries to bring about monumental change you are going to have steep opposition and your enemies will do what they can to try to destroy you and that's the bottom line!

    January 22, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. mike

    2010, Less than 1% to Charity? Best of Luck.

    January 22, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Sarah Palin, Fierce Advocate for Childhood Obesity

    RS, CA

    What we do NOT accept (and believe our country deserves better) is an individual who had no experience, no qualifications, no educational records we can assess (other than a self-promoting "autobiography") – who was elected ONLY BECAUSE he is black!

    Actually, the failure of the prior administration would have assure that Mr Ed would get elected over any Republican. Even if he is a horse of o different color.

    Fortunately we got an educated president who managed to stop the free fall of the economy that was Bush's legacy.

    January 22, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. Michelle

    RS – Which republican presidents released their educational records, or were even asked? Obama had more legislative experience than many in the republican field, he is a constitutional lawyer (I think understanding the constitution is a bonus in a president) and he has accomplished more to benefit America in 3 years than Duhbya did in 8. We have had nearly two years of private sector job growth, the economy is recovering from Bush's 8 years, he has lessen the size of government (less federal employees than under W), many dictators and terrorists have been removed, and taxes are the lowest they have been in 50 years. The republican majesty Ronald Reagan raised taxes **30** times during his presidency. The tired republican rhetoric doesn't work on anyone who thinks for themselves and researches facts.

    January 22, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. AK_steve

    Sure it was a "reimbursement". Just like he was acting as a "historian" for Franny and Freddy.
    This guy is pure slime. Typical GOPer.

    January 22, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. john

    So he singnd a legal paper withouit understanding, he's our man! What a crock! He knew EXACTLY what he was doing, and he KNEW it was worng. Just like he KNEW it was WRONG to cheat on his wives. He kknew, but he did these things anyway and to this day admits no legal or moral wrong doing. What a pathetic fat slob of a liar.

    January 22, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Josaphat Daniels

    Some americans never ceases to amaze me, they refer to President Obama's successful policies foreign and domestic as
    failures but forget how bush's policies crippled if not nearly demolished the nation both foreign and domestic, some even call
    the bush policies successful which is tragic. I know you guys will never appreciate how hard the president has worked for
    you even dealing with stiff obstruction from the selfish greedy right. Even if Obama finds the cure for cancer and AIDS, it
    still wouldn't change how your black hearts feel for him. This is unbelievable, you psychos need help.

    January 22, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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