February 16, 1999 - Read the update on this situation! Newt Gingrich Cleared! Now How About a Refund?
Below is what I wrote in 1997 after Newt Gingrich was fined $300,000.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, saying he is ``a person of limited means,'' is paying the $300,000 ethics penalty with a loan from 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole.
And the Democrats are whining about it. Why?
First of all, what exactly were the charges against Newt? David Bonior brought 75 charges against Newt - and 74 of them were found to have NO MERIT WHATSOEVER. The last charge, whether Newt funded his college class "Renewing American Civilization" properly, was too complicated a tax issue for the committee to investigate on its own, so they brought in an outside tax expert to investigate. Two charges arose out of this investigation.
The first 'charge' from the ethics committee is that he "may have" violated tax law by using tax-deductible contributions from nonprofit organizations to teach an allegedly partisan college course.
The lectures never mentioned the words "Republicans" or "Democrats," and one entire session was spent praising FDR. Is that "partisan?" Not only has a former commissioner of the IRS has come forward and said that no tax laws were violated, but an Ethics Committee lawyer even gave approval for the class before Newt started it.
The second 'charge' from the committee is that, in the course of the investigation, Newt provided false information to the committee. Do you know what this "false information" is
Newt testified that the above contributions were in fact made by those organizations to "Renewing American Civilization." He filed papers that stated the very same thing. This is never a fact that anyone was trying to hide. But one paper filed with the committee stated that those groups did not make the contributions. So is this a big deal? Is this "lying to Congress?"
What's funny is that the Ethics Committee itself approved the course Newt taught, the same course that started this whole "ethics violation" farce. Newt wasn't even paid for the course. In any case, I am not getting into all the details of the whole ethics violation mess, and the incredible double standard shown, since that would warrant a separate web site. I just find it odd that the Ethics Committee turned around and slammed Newt with a $300,000 penalty for something that they had approved! In addition, if a reprimand was enough "punishment" for Barney Frank, who was charged by the same committee with fixing 30 parking tickets, and writing a misleading probation letter on behalf of child pornographer, cocaine dealer, male prostitute and lover Steven Gobie, why is Newt getting slammed with such a harsher penalty?
The only reason that Rep. David Bonior and other Democrats filed 75 ethics charges against Speaker Gingrich in the first place is because Newt filed and forced former Democrat Speaker Jim Wright to resign in 1988. The whole ethics violation farce was about nothing but revenge. Bonior and the Dems. wanted revenge for Jim Wright and for losing the House in 1994 and 1996.
Don't the Democrats have anything better to do?
In any case, I digress. Despite the unfairness of the whole ethics situation, (I can't believe people are worried about Newt's ethics when Bill Clinton is running the country) Newt bears full responsibility for these "ethics violations." He could have legally used campaign funds or a defense trust fund to pay the ethics penalty or sued the lawyers who he said misled him into what he calls a technical ethics violation. He has the legal right to do any of those things. But did he? No. Gingrich said he and his wife decided he had ``a moral obligation to pay the $300,000 out of personal funds.'' So, he took out an 8 year loan at prime plus 1.5 - which is about 10% interest. By taking out this type of loan from Dole, not only would he be relieving the taxpayers of paying for the penalty fine, but Newt would then not be beholden to any bank, lending institute, etc. Thus, he wouldn't have to worry about conflicts every time a banking issue came before him.
By the way, can anyone imagine Bill Clinton paying out of his own pocket because he felt a "moral obligation?"
This sounds pretty reasonable, right? Not according to some people. You should hear the moaning groaning and whining from the Left! It's really embarrassing. They say that Dole is a lobbyist for the tobacco companies so Newt is now getting the money from tobacco companies for favors in the ongoing battle to stop legislation against tobacco firms. (talk about twisted rationale - how long does it take the Dems to come up with these things?) Newt can't win!
It's pretty obvious that the Democrats are upset and whining because Newt wasn't beaten, and has come back in spite of the campaign to discredit him and remove him from power.
Remember, Newt COULD have legally taken the money out of campaign funds or legal defense funds, like our wonderful president did for his sexual harassment suit! But Newt, having moral character, is taking this obscene and ridiculous amount of money out of personal funds. Yet, out of apparent desperation, the Left is still whining, and is scrambling to try and tie Republicans with the tobacco industry. But let us not forget who was selling and MAKING MONEY off the tobacco industry not that many years ago - Al Gore!
It also seems strange that Democrats blasted Newt for taking Dole's loan, and are now calling Dole a tobacco lobbyist - - Yes, Dole works for a law firm which represents tobacco companies. However, just sit back and think a minute. If we are to judge Dole by the law firms' other clients, clients that Dole is not associated with, then it's only fair that we judge all people by their lawyer's other clients. I wonder how many people would be happy about that? Do YOU know all the clients your lawyer represents??
In any case, let's look at who is representing the tobacco company in the law firm. The representers are Ann Richards (former governor of Texas) and George Mitchell (former Senator) - both DEMOCRATS!!!
The Democrats just always need something to whine about, don't they?
Helpful Info - spineless Republicans
Thanks to Mike for the following list
These Representatives did not vote for Newt Gingrich and may have jeopardized his effectiveness to be Speaker of the House:VOTED PRESENT: Hostettler, John [ IOWA 8th district ] Klug, Scott [ WISCONSIN 2nd district ] Morella, Constance A. [ MARYLAND 8th district ] Neumann, Mark W. [ WISCONSIN 1st district ] Wolf, Frank R. [ VIRGINIA 10th district ] VOTED FOR REP. JIM LEACH of IOWA: Campbell, Tom [ CALIFORNIA freshman ] Forbes, Michael [ NEW YORK 1st district ] VOTED FOR FORMER REP. ROBERT WALKER: Smith, Linda [ WASHINGTON 3rd district ] VOTED FOR FORMER REP. ROBERT MICHEL: Leach, Jim [ IOWA 1st district, and Chairman, Banking and Finance Committee ] DID NOT VOTE: Johnson, Sam [ TEXAS 3rd district ]
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