Gingrich responds to concerns about Freddie Mac connection

posted at 1:20 pm on November 16, 2011 by Tina Korbe

On “The Laura Ingraham Show” this morning, Newt Gingrich reiterated what he said in the CNBC debate last Wednesday: He has never lobbied for Freddie Mac. He didn’t dispute that he received a significant sum of money for his advice, but reminded listeners that such high fees are common in the consulting world.

“I was perfectly happy to work on the question, ‘What do government-sponsored enterprises do?’” Gingrich said. “I did no lobbying. I did not reach out to Capitol Hill. I was not directly engaged in that way. I gave them advice on what they can do.”

That advice, he said, might have included suggesting who to talk to on Capitol Hill — but he himself did not make connections between Freddie Mac and legislators, he said.

When Ingraham read Bloomberg’s description of the role Gingrich played for the mortgage company, Gingrich responded, “Well that may have been what they asked, but that’s not what I did, not what I’ve ever done.”

Instead, he said, he was to Freddie Mac what he is to anyone he advises: a historian.

“I think like a historian,” Gingrich said. “My PhD is in history. I’ve written books on history. When I see a problem, my first thought is to think, ‘What are other parallels? When did we see this in history?’”

He emphasized that Gingrich Group has offered advice to plenty of enterprises and that his fee was reasonable.

“A number of people found it useful to get our advice,” he said. “We consulted with many companies … All of those folks [in the consulting space] charge a fairly large amount of money.”

He wouldn’t necessarily recommend that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to pay such exorbitant consulting fees. Instead, he said again, he’d recommend they be broken up.

“I would recommend as a matter of public policy that both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be broken up,” he said. “They’re too big [and] they involve too much risk. There’s too much financial exposure.”

Gingrich did concede that he likely wouldn’t have received the consulting gig if he had not been Speaker of the House, but stressed that he worked with Freddie Mac long after he entered the private sector.

In general, he seemed unfazed by the increased scrutiny — which has come in other forms, as well. In Iowa, at least one social conservative group has begun to attack his messy personal past, with ads that ask, “Is nothing sacred to Newt?”

But most of his detractors have had anonymity in common: Even the Bloomberg reports cited no names. (As Ingraham scoffed on her show, “This is the way journalism is these days.”)

Gingrich responded to critics of his past: “The fact that some anonymous group puts out an absurd document doesn’t change what I’ve said and doesn’t change me. … This is part of the process.”


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Comment pages: 1 2

Quit playing victim to your own idiocy.

darwin on November 16, 2011 at 3:12 PM

He’s just mad to get called on it. Godwin-ing himself on page 1 is a new record.

lorien1973 on November 16, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Message Boarding 101 for Dummies

At least wait until the next page of a thread before you project any of your own failings onto others.

MNHawk on November 16, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Either way. I’m happy to have 2012 be about failing GSE’s and government bailouts. I really have no problem with it at all. It’s not a fight Dems can win – as you can see from ses’s Godwin-ing himself so quickly.
lorien1973 on November 16, 2011 at 3:13 PM

They can win if our guy was paid $1.5 million by this GSE debacle and their guy was paid a paltry $100K. Anyone who thinks Gingrich was paid for anything but his influence and guidance on how to stifle opposition to this toxic GSE is naive.

Basilsbest on November 16, 2011 at 3:34 PM

As I said on the other thread, most likely Gingrich did nothing at all. He was paid to allow Freddie to use his name with Republicans, and I’ll bet he didn’t even know how much they were using it. He may have also given a speech or two to their execuitves and shown up for a Board meeting to opine on how to talk to Republicans.

It isn’t helpful to him. The guy at Freddie who first hired him was also responsible for Freddie paying the largest fine in the history of the Federal Election Commission. I don’t think Newt knew specifically how they were breaking the law, but it’s possible he did, because a lot of lobbyists in DC knew.

rockmom on November 16, 2011 at 3:43 PM

They can win if our guy was paid $1.5 million by this GSE debacle and their guy was paid a paltry $100K.

Basilsbest on November 16, 2011 at 3:34 PM

I guess; but their guy is bailing out FM (again) for $12 billion. When no real changes have been done since the last bailout.

Anyone who thinks Gingrich was paid for anything but his influence and guidance on how to stifle opposition to this toxic GSE is naive.

This could have been their intent. That’s why I’m curious what he actually told them.

lorien1973 on November 16, 2011 at 3:59 PM

SEIU, the Postal Workers Union and the NEA gave over 2.5 million dollars to Republicans over the past 10 years. Where’s the outrage? Why would Republicans take campaign contributions from Unions?

mike_NC9 on November 16, 2011 at 4:05 PM

In general, he seemed unfazed by the increased scrutiny —

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

lynncgb on November 16, 2011 at 4:31 PM

I think that Cain will rise again.

Key West Reader on November 16, 2011 at 5:09 PM

SEIU, the Postal Workers Union and the NEA gave over 2.5 million dollars to Republicans over the past 10 years. Where’s the outrage? Why would Republicans take campaign contributions from Unions?

mike_NC9 on November 16, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Guess what?

YOU GAVE THEM THEIR MONEY.

Answer that

Key West Reader on November 16, 2011 at 5:10 PM

If America is to survive, She must abolish Public Sector Unions. Andn while She’s at it, she must abolish the SEIU.

Key West Reader on November 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Comment pages: 1 2