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December 6th, 2011
 

Newt’s Justification For Supporting TARP

With Newt Gingrich surging in the polls, his political opponents and the national media are now working overtime to highlight the former Speaker’s past statements, positions, and personal failings. Dredging up a candidate’s past is part of the vetting process, but it’s the new things that we are learning about Gingrich that are potentially damaging to his campaign for president, not his well documented past.

In recent weeks, some of Gingrich’s business dealings have come to light. In 2007 and 2008, The Gingrich Group was paid between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in fees from mortgage company Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that free market conservatives have criticized, especially since the housing market crashed.

It was also reported that healthcare companies paid a Gingrich-led entity more than $37 million dollars. Gingrich insists that he’s not a lobbyist, which is technically true. However, cashing in on his celebrity and connections has made Gingrich a wealthy man. His post-congress business ventures have also created political liabilities for the Republican frontrunner.

Gingrich has defended the payments to his various political entities by saying that all he was offering was “strategic advice.” That may be the case, but it seems a little outlandish to think that Freddie Mac paid him $1.6 million to “give advice on precisely what they didn’t do.

It’s not the advice that Gingrich gave to various businesses and other entities that will cause him trouble, it’s the notion that he was a for-hire pitchman. The last thing that voters want is a president who can be bought or influenced when it comes to major policy decisions.

While Gingrich has already been heavily scrutinized over his support of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (T.A.R.P.), it’s the explanation he gave for changing his mind that may cause more troubles for him. At a conservative forum in May of 2010, Gingrich admitted that he changed his mind on T.A.R.P. after a few high profile businessmen bent his ear.

Gingrich informed a crowd in Davenport, Iowa that, “I was very biased against it [T.A.R.P.] and had opposed it all the previous week. I had a number of very, very successful businessmen who called me and said that you need to understand, this system is on the edge of total meltdown. These were people who weren’t politicians. They weren’t liberals. Some of them were very right wing. But they said this is a true crisis. This is like having a heart attack, this is a true crisis.”

Gingrich also admitted that as a student of history, the fact that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of the Treasury both agreed that the global financial system was on the edge of total failure also caused him to go from opposing T.A.R.P. to favoring its passage.

Gingrich’s support of T.A.R.P. is nothing new, but as questions arise over his relationships with various companies and industry leaders, one has to wonder how much his business relationships had to do with him changing his mind on the controversial program.

Below is the video of Gingrich discussing T.A.R.P. He was asked about the impact that the T.A.R.P. vote would have on incumbents. The questioner was reacting to Republican Senator Bob Bennett losing his bid for re-election in a Republican convention in Utah.

Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com


About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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