Thursday, November 17, 2011

Is Gingrich Lying Over Freddie Mac Involvement?

Ya gotta give credit to Newt Gingrich. At least he's consistent in his colossal hypocrisy. Back in the 90's while he was crucifying Bill Clinton over the former president's sexual escapades with Monica Lewinsky, the then-House Speaker was simultaneously cheating on his wife. And now we learn from a Bloomberg News article, which cites former Freddie Mac officials, that while Gingrich was excoriating President Obama, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Democrats for their supposed roles in the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae housing and financial crisis he knew that he had earned upwards of $1.8-million on Freddie's payroll to lobby their cause to his influential Republican pals on Capitol Hill.

On the hot seat after soaring recently in the polls, Gingrich's defense of his actions is lame at best and unethical and duplicitous at worst. At a GOP debate last week he claimed to have made only $300,000 from the relationship and that he was paid as a "historian," giving the federally-backed home mortgage company "advice on precisely what they didn’t do,” which was to stop giving high-risk loans to borrowers with no or poor credit history. He later expanded his role to "strategic adviser."

"First of all, it wasn’t paid to me," he said this week. "Gingrich Group was a consulting firm that had lots of people doing things and we offered strategic advice." So, we're supposed to accept on face value that Gingrich does not personally profit from Gingrich Group revenue? Furthermore, the Freddie officials confirmed to Bloomberg that he never warned of a housing bubble and offered no criticism of the business model.

According to the Associated Press, Gingrich’s work with Freddie Mac started in 1999 after being brought in by the company’s top lobbyist, Mitchell Delk, to consult on legislative and regulatory issues, the company said at the time. He was paid approximately $30,000 a month into 2002. Freddie brought him back again four years later at $300,000 annually to help defend against attacks from conservatives.

So Gingrich appears to be lying, which is clearly such a pattern for him that it consistently and ultimately brings him down, as it is certain to do again now.

Back in 2008 Gingrich aggressively challenged Obama to distance himself from Freddie and Fannie by returning all campaign contributions. And at the recent debate, he arrogantly charged that those responsible for the housing crisis should be put in jail: "You ought to start with Barney Frank. Go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac." Perhaps what's good for the goose is good for the Gingrich...

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