New Romney ad focuses on Gingrich’s ethics violation
January 28th, 2012
10:58 AM ET
11 years ago

New Romney ad focuses on Gingrich’s ethics violation

(CNN) – Three days before Florida’s Republican presidential primary, Mitt Romney’s campaign blasted Newt Gingrich through a new television ad released Saturday.

Airing in the Sunshine State, the commercial zeroes in on the former House speaker’s reprimand from Congress over a 1997 ethics violation.

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The spot, “History Lesson,” entirely features a 30-second clip from NBC’s “Nightly News” the night Tom Brokaw announced the House vote to penalize Gingrich.

“Newt Gingrich, who came to power, after all, preaching a higher standard in American politics, a man who brought down another speaker on ethics accusations, tonight he has on his own record the judgment of his peers, Democrat and Republican alike,” Brokaw said, adding details about the charges against Gingrich.

The ethics violation in question occurred after Gingrich taught a course at Kennesaw State College. While organizers claimed the course qualified for tax-exempt status, the House Ethics Committee ultimately decided the course was run to "help in achieving a partisan, political goal,” making it ineligible for tax exemption, according to PolitiFact.

The body acted with overwhelming bipartisanship to reprimand Gingrich through a bill titled "In the Matter of Representative Newt Gingrich." Voting in favor were 196 Republicans, 198 Democrats and one independent. Voting against were 26 Republicans and two Democrats. With 88% voting in favor, it was the first time the House had disciplined a sitting speaker.

While Romney frequently attacks Gingrich for “resigning in disgrace,” the former House speaker, technically, did not resign from his position. He was reelected to the 106th Congress but declined to keep his seat for a third term as speaker.

Gingrich paid a $300,000 reimbursement fee for legal expenses and costs incurred by the investigation.

Explaining the incident, Gingrich told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley last week that he urged fellow House Republicans to vote “yes” on the ethics charges in order to expedite the process and move on to balancing the budget.

“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.”

In a statement Saturday, Romney’s campaign accused Gingrich of trying to “rewrite history” of the reprimand.

“As a historian, however, he should know that such efforts usually fail,” said Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman.

Responding to the new ad, Gingrich's campaign pointed to a report from the Internal Revenue Service in 1999 that concluded Gingrich had not violated any tax laws.

"The...course taught principles from American civilization that could be used by each American in everyday life whether the person is a welfare recipient, the head of a large corporation, or a politician," the report said.

But the report did not exonerate Gingrich from a misleading letter in the investigation that later became central to the ethics charge and the basis for his $300,000 penalty.

- CNN’s Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Also see:

Romney: Gingrich debates complaints like 'Goldilocks'

Palin decries GOP 'cannibalism,' defends Gingrich

Romney surrogates shadow Gingrich campaign

Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Congress • Florida • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Squigman

    Just another republican, that should be in jail. Funny, the republicans always seem to be issued passes for their bad behavior. It's probably a good thing though, the prisons would be overflowing with retarded politicians.

    January 28, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Jilli

    Both of these candidates are so flawed – and so completely offensive. The ads are meaningless at his point.

    January 28, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Larry L

    The details of Gingrich's violations will drive the nail into his political coffin. Even conservatives have a limit when it comes to the character of their politicians.

    January 28, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Willie Floyd

    If much more garbage comes up about these 2 idiots, they're going to need to hire a TRASH pick up service.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 28, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    Graveyard inside the republican’s Closet wow

    January 28, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Indy

    Newt took a dive for Romney in the last debate and Romney got all the glory for answering the same old worn out personal questions, there was no important questions that led to thoughtful answers and we learned nothing new from the debate.Republicans are good at talking about anything and everyone but real hard issues never get new light shed on them.

    January 28, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. WireweirdinSF

    And another little noticed and even less reported on statistic that gives more insight in to the most incompetent, inept, corrupt, union toady president we have ever had. The United States ranks 47th in the world in freedom of the press, thanks to this corrupt administration, the liberally biased press and their owners the corrupt unions. Is it any wonder we elect a Kenyan village idiot as president?

    January 28, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. John

    Can't vote for Gingrich.

    Conservatives unite around the candidate that will bring private sector jobs back: Mitt Romney.

    The extended Obama recession has end. Vote 4 Mitt!

    January 28, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Romney is such a liar, he is disgusting.

    The real truth is not there.

    January 28, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Dixie Independent voter

    Again, Newt makes himself the hero of his failure as Speaker. I asked them to vote against me. Sure you did.

    January 28, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Romney is the worst thing to happen to republicans. Lying, corporate raiding, tax evasion, vulture capitalism; and he is envious of those who have a decent paying job, social security and medicare, a pension, veteran's benefits, teachers, police, firemen, and the middle class.

    January 28, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. Peng

    Don't believe for a second Newt actually asked them to vote against him. That seems really ridiculous. No one would do that, especially not him!

    January 28, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. gimmesometruth

    I think the key is whether conservatives can see through the garbage – and everyone knows Newt has made mistakes, which happens in a long career – and nominate the best candidate for the country based on positive factors. Romneys positive factor is that he made a lot of money for himself. Newt's positive factor is that he is extremely qualified to be President and has contributed more to the conservative cause than just about any living politician. We don't need another packaged talking head poster boy. We got that with Obama, but now that he has been President for one term he isn't going to let a Republican get away with the same trick and Romney will not have the liberal media on his side after he is nominated, which is the big joke on Romney.

    January 28, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Gingrich will never tell the truth about his ethics violations or anything else because his plan is for his supporters to "boo" against anything he's asked and to turn on the person who ask questions. If Republicans can't see Gingrich for who he really is, a thief, a liar and a three time adultress then they are in the trash can with him.

    January 28, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Hawk in Texas

    How all republicans can stand in front of america and lie and keep on lying. at every one of these so called debates we hear the same lies over and over. newt romney santorum paul. where are the jobs, where is the health care. where is the blame for the oil companys raping the american public. where iss the blame for ceo's making millions of dollars while their companys are going bankrupt. where is the blame for banks getting billions of dollars when they did not need it. where is the blame for bush bailing out wall street so the big boys could get millions more in salierys. when the poor our young and our veterans are doing without any help. i ask the party of no and the rich. WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA?

    January 28, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. TC

    All ethics charges were dropped by the House committee except one – for teaching a freakin' history course and its relationship to his taxes. A subsequent review (well after the House vote) by the IRS exonerated Gingrich (but you never hear that from the media). The $300,000 reprimand was due to the committee having to further explore a misleading statement in a legal letter that Gingrich signed. The $300,000 had nothing to do with the supposed ethics violation (which was later exonerated by the IRS). Don't let the facts get in the way of your agenda.

    January 28, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. TJeff1776

    Romney is far from perfect BUT still a good family man and a successful business man. NOONE can deny that. As one business man put it....."Romney's word was his bond and I never knew him to take advantage of anyone". BUT a look at Gingrich IS another matter. (1) Run out of congress (2) Violated his marriage vows with two wives AND all three wives were running around on his previous wife(3) Refused to support his children and the church had to feed and cloth them(a recorded fact) (4)served divorce papers on wife in hospital bed and lied about this as early as three weeks ago.(5) Literally has lived a life of hypocricy- attacking Clinton and others about adultery while he was doing the exact same thing. (6) His life is filled with groundshaking ideas that never pan out- like colony on the moon.

    January 28, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. TC

    Just to back up what I said: The IRS looked into those accusations in a three-year investigation, it found that the donations to Gingrich’s charity were “consistent with its stated exempt purposes,” and Gingrich’s course and course book “were educational in content,” according to The Washington Post in 1999. By then, Gingrich had left office, preferring retirement to a fight over leadership.

    January 28, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Roy

    Tea/Republicans don't even know the meaning of "ethics" so a violation of them is also meaningless. Can't fix stupid.

    January 28, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. Larry L

    Republicans must continue to make themselves believe that; 1. They weren't in charge when the economy was destroyed, 2. They haven't worked to obstruct all progress, and 3. They aren't motivated by greed, bigotry and racism. Do these things and you can ignore the terrific job done by President Obama and simply pick between a slimy politician who "found Jesus" or a elitist who wants to give Social Security and Medicare to Wall Street.

    January 28, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. BCBulldog

    Look up the new report of Romney overseeing a company that was indicted for Medicare Fraud in 1993 while he was at Bain. Romney then dumped the company just before they were indicted in one the top Medicare fraud cases. Romney has some explaining to do.

    January 28, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Mike Buck

    I do believe in Karma! I do, I do, I do!

    January 28, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Diana

    The Ten Commandments:
    7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    Do Americans want an adulterer for their Commander in Chief?
    Do Americans want an adulteress as their First Lady?

    January 28, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. Independent Voters

    Newt and Romney is maken the republican party look bad.
    Vote for Obama/Biden 2012
    Warren 2012

    January 28, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |