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Newt Gingrich

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Newt Gingrich

Newton Leroy Gingrich (born June 17, 1943) is a neoconservative politician who is best known as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. As a co-author of the notorious 1994 Contract With America, Gingrich was in the forefront of the Republican Party's success in the 1994 Congressional elections, and was subsequently elected Speaker. After he returned to private life, Gingrich remained active in neoconservative politics, becoming a fellow at both the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)[1] and the Hoover Institution,[2][3] two of the big guns in the neoconservative think tank world. He is reputed to be a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and to have ties to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

Gingrich also founded the Gingrich Group, which, according to his personal website,[4] is "a communications and consulting firm that specializes in transformational change", and the Center for Health Transformation, a Gingrich Group project launched in 2003.

Gingrich, a "well-paid broker of ideas and influence in the field of health care policy. ... has become probably the most visible spokesman for a set of ideas about health care that is gaining support in the Bush administration and in business," the New York Times said in January 2005.[5]

With the election of George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich was tapped to serve on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, a think tank for the U.S. Department of Defense dominated by neoconservatives and criticized because of the perceived conflicts of interests of its members, many of whom have strong ties to defense contractors that could benefit from sensitive information gleaned at policy board meetings. Gingrich is one of only eight Hoover fellows with seats on the 31-member board.[6]

Ethics violations, charges and fines

In 1989, a U.S. tax court took the unusual step of denying a request for tax-exempt status for a group Gingrich formed, the American Campaign Academy, whose mission was to train political operatives. The IRS ruled that the academy was partisan because it served "the private interests of Republican party entities rather than public interests exclusively."

In January, 1997 Gingrich faced ethics charges related to his use of charitable organizations to subsidize his partisan political activities. It was revealed that Gingrich and his top consultants had repeatedly attempted to use tax-deductible charitable donations to help promote political goals. The same month, the House of Representatives voted 395 to 28 to reprimand Gingrich, then Speaker of the House, and ordered him to pay an unprecedented $300,000 fine for ethical wrongdoing. Gingrich was charged with using a college course that he taught, called "Renewing American Civilization," to further his political agenda. When the House Ethics Committee questioned him about it, Gingrich made false ("glaringly inconsistent") statements regarding the charges. Five Democrats said they voted "present" -- neither for nor against the reprimand -- because they believed the sanction was not severe enough. It was the first time in the House's history that it had ever disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing. [7] [8]

In December, 1998 Gingrich completed payment of a $300,000 penalty imposed for violations of House rules. Gingrich initially planned to pay the fine with a $300,000 loan from former Senate majority leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.). After Democrats and some commentators argued the loan was a "sweetheart deal" and amounted to a gift, Gingrich said he paid "through wholly personal funds." Gingrich admitted he misled the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and should have sought better legal advice before using tax-exempt organizations to advance his political goals. [9] [10]

In October, 1998 the ethics committee dropped the three remaining of the 85 ethics charges on Gingrich. The ethics panel decided to take no further action because there was no evidence that "Rule 45" violations were continuing in the speaker's office. [11]

In December 1999, The IRS cleared the Progress and Freedom Foundation of charges that it violated its tax-exempt status when it helped fund the college course "Renewing American Civilization" taught by Gingrich. [12]

Affiliations

"Following Newt's Money"

"I raised so much money over the years, from so many different people that ... I don't owe anyone."—Newt Gingrich, quoted by MotherJones.[16]

"Far from owing no one, House Speaker Newt Gingrich has built his power base through a series of dubious transactions that look like political paybacks. At the center of Newt's political machine is GOPAC, which has raised and spent more than $8 million since 1991 while skirting the federal election laws governing PACs to avoid naming its donors."[16]

In August 2010, Salon.com released their findings on who is funding Gingrich's primary political committee, a 527 group called American Solutions for Winning the Future. Salon found a significant chunk of the group's funding comes from oil and gas and coal companies, according to the its IRS filings. American Solutions has run national TV ads opposing cap-and-trade bills.[17]

According to Salon, American Solutions has taken in over $20 million as of the 2010 election cycle. Here are some of the group's biggest funders:[17]

  • American Electric Power: CEO Michael Morris of the Ohio-based power company gave $100,000 in 2009. Along with electricity, the company operates the nation's largest power transmission network, operating over much of the East Coast and Midwest.
  • Arch Coal: Based in St. Louis, Arch boasts it provides 16 percent of America's coal supply from 11 mining complexes around the country, making it the second largest coal producer in the country. It gave Gingrich $100,000.
  • Devon Energy: An Oklahoma-based oil and gas production company that gave American Solutions $250,000.
  • Workforce Fairness Institute: A Washington, D.C.-based anti-union pressure group that gave $150,000 to Gingrich's organization this cycle. Its website says it is "funded by and advocates on behalf of business owners who enjoy good working relationships with their employees, and would like to maintain those good relationships without the unfair interference of government bureaucrats, union organizers and special interests." Mark McKinnon, longtime GOP operative and Bush aide, has been a spokesman for the institute.

War in Iraq

"[Gingrich's] basic point: where are the Iraqi faces in the New Iraq? 'Americans can't win in Iraq,' he says. 'Only Iraqis can win in Iraq'.[19]

"Gingrich argues that the Bush administration has been putting far too much emphasis on a military solution and slighting the political element. 'The real key here is not how many enemy do I kill. The real key is how many allies do I grow,' he says. 'And that is a very important metric that they just don't get.' He contends that the civilian-run CPA is fairly isolated and powerless, hunkered down inside its bunker in Baghdad. The military has the money and the daily contact with the locals. But it's using the same tactics in a guerrilla struggle that led to defeat in Vietnam."
"Gingrich faults the Americans for not quickly establishing some sort of Iraqi government, however imperfect. 'The idea that we are going to have a corruption-free, pristine, League of Women Voters government in Iraq on Tuesday is beyond naivete,' he scoffs. 'It is a self-destructive fantasy'".

War in Iraq as WWIII?

In July 2006, Bill Berkowitz reported for Inter Press Service: "For years, U.S. neoconservatives have been ratcheting up the rhetoric -- mostly in small gatherings and on partisan web sites -- claiming that terrorist activities around the world constituted the initial stages of a new world war. But during the past week or so ... Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the United States House of Representatives, is using any platform available to him to convince the public that the U.S. is engaged in World War III. ... While Gingrich's media tour definitely thrust him back into the national political spotlight, it may have also given the public a sneak peek into the Republican Party's political/marketing strategy for the November congressional elections: If the war on terrorism doesn't create a fearful enough climate amongst voters, why not ratchet it up by mentioning the spectre of a World War III?" ... John Stauber, co-author of the book, The Best War Ever, told IPS "'You've got to call it something and five years after 9/11 with Osama [bin Laden] still roaming free and Iraq an American quagmire, and the Republican Party in danger of losing control of Congress, this ploy makes marketing sense.'"[20]

Contact information

Gingrich Communications
1425 K Street, NW
Suite 350
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202 587-5710
URL: www.newtgingrich.org
URL: www.gingrichgroup.com
URL: www.americansolutions.com/default.aspx
URL: www.winningthefuture.net

SourceWatch resources

Articles by Newt Gingrich

External articles

1996

1998

1999

2001

2003

2005

2006

2007

2008

  • Bill Berkowitz, "The ubiquitous Newt Gingrich slogs on: Former House Speaker appeared in an Al Gore-sponsored anti-global warming ad with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but later backtracked", Media Transparency, May 19, 2008.

External resources


References

  1. American Enterprise Institute Scholars: Newt Gingrich, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, accessed December 14, 2011
  2. Hoover Institute "Newt Gingrich appointed distinguished visiting fellow," Hoover Institution Newsletter, Stanford University, Summer 1999
  3. Hoover Institution Bio: Newt Gingrich, Hoover Institution.
  4. Newt Gingrich Newt.org campaign website
  5. Steve Lohr, "Health Care's Unlikely Surgeon," New York Times, January 16, 2005
  6. Center for Public Integrity report link is no longer active
  7. John E. Yang House Reprimands, Penalizes Speaker, Washington Post, January 22, 1997, Page A1
  8. Charles R. Babcock and John E. Yang Files in Gingrich Case Detail Misstatements, Washington Post, January 19, 1997, Page A1
  9. Gingrich Pays Off Ethics Penalty, Washington Post, December 30, 1998
  10. Bill McAllister Gingrich to Pay Penalty With His Own Money, Washington Post, September 15 1998
  11. Curt Anderson Ethics Committee Drops Last of 84 Charges Against Gingrich, Washington Post, October 11, 1998
  12. Associated Press IRS Clears Foundation That Aided Gingrich Course, Washington Post, February 4, 1999
  13. Biographies: Newt Gingrich, Distinguished Advisor, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
  14. About Advisory Board, NanoBusiness Alliance.
  15. Project Vote Smart's Founding & Executive Board Member, Project Vote Smart, accessed November 12, 2008.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Following Newt's Money," MotherJones, undated.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Justin Elliott, "Who's funding Newt Gingrich?" Salon, August 10, 2010.
  18. Philip Weiss, Gingrich got $5 million for saying Palestinians are invented people (lord, why am I so cynical?), MondoWeiss, 8 January 2012.
  19. John Barry. "Dissent in the Bunker. Newt Gingrich, a quiet Rumsfeld confidant, thinks the U.S. went 'off a cliff' in Iraq," Newsweek/MSNBC, December 15, 2003.
  20. Bill Berkowitz, "Bringing on "World War III," Inter Press Service, July 20, 2006.