Newt Gingrich Freddie Mac

November 17, 2011 by staff 

Newt Gingrich Freddie Mac, Newt Gingrich defended payments of at least $1.6 million he received from mortgage company Freddie Mac, saying he provided “strategic advice over a long period of time” and that his work would remind voters of his knowledge of how Washington works.

On campaign stops in Iowa where he might have basked in a recent surge in state and national polls to the upper ranks of Republican presidential contenders, Gingrich yesterday also said scrutiny of the payments was justified.

“Everything is legitimate,” Gingrich told reporters when asked whether the queries into his mortgage work were warranted. “This is the presidency.”

His campaign announced it would release all the documents it legally could on payments to Gingrich by Freddie Mac since he left Congress in early 1999. Gingrich said the fees were sent to his consulting firm, the Gingrich Group, and that he couldn’t remember the details of the contracts. “You are asking me about 12 years ago,” he said.

The questions were prompted by a Bloomberg News report that Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with the agency that he has scolded on the campaign trail. He has blamed Freddie Mac of helping cause the mortgage crisis in the U.S. housing market.

Historian’s ‘Advice’

Gingrich at a Nov. 9 debate acknowledged receiving $300,000 from Freddie Mac in 2006, saying he was paid to offer “advice as a historian.” He said he gave them “advice on precisely what they didn’t do,” which was to stop making loans to people with no credit history.

He said yesterday that the “strategic advice” he also provided would underscore “that I know a great deal about Washington, and if you want to change Washington — we just tried four years of amateur ignorance and it didn’t work very well — so having somebody who actually knows Washington might be a really good thing.”

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