Mitt Romney's latest attack on Newt Gingrich's time as an historian for Freddie Mac would be more effective if it didn't remind us that Romney could easily pay the $1.6 million 'reward' he's playfully putting up to learn more about his opponent's old job.
The $1.6 million is actually the amount of money that Newt Gingrich was said to have been paid during his tenure at Freddie Mac, not an actual reward (obviously). Romney's calling for the "missing" Gingrich contracts that Freddie Mac hasn't released--it has so far released one which only documents $300,000 of the $1.6 million he was allegedly paid. But, with Romney's tax return release (also the modest tax rate he's paying) and the fact that we know how much money (and there's plenty of it) he made in the past couple of years, the candidate might not want to appear to be throwing around his money for muckraking.
Here's the e-mail sent to Romney supporters last night (it also appeared on Romney's campaign site this morning):
MISSING: NEWT’S FREDDIE MAC PAPERS
$1.6 MILLION REWARD
“Newt Gingrich’s Freddie Mac contract raises more questions than answers. His secrecy about his lobbying for Freddie Mac is troubling. No amount of bluster will hide the fact that Newt had his hand in Freddie Mac to the tune of $25,000 a month. The bursting housing bubble helped lead to the current economic crisis and Newt Gingrich has his fingerprints all over it. His shifting explanations amount to a shell game with the truth. Speaker Gingrich needs to fully disclose his work as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac.” -Gail Gitcho, Romney Communications Director
Where are the missing reports?
· Gingrich Only Released One Contract For One Year - Officials At His Company Say They “Can’t Find” His Other Contracts. “Newt Gingrich’s consulting firm tonight released a copy of its 2006 contract with Freddie Mac, which covers just one year of his multiple years of service and documents only $300,000 of the $1.6 million he received from the mortgage company. The Republican hopeful’s first contract … wasn’t released because officials at the Center for Health Transformation can’t find it, said Susan Meyers, a center spokeswoman who also works for the Gingrich campaign.” (Clea Benson and Julie Bykowicz, “Gingrich Firm Releases Freddie Mac Contract,” Bloomberg, 1/23/12)
Most contracts detail the services that people provide in exchange for compensation. Why does your contract provide no clue as to what you did for Freddie Mac?
· Most Contracts List The Services That Employers Expect In Return - But The Gingrich Contract Does Not. “Gingrich has always maintained that he never lobbied for Freddie Mac but served as an advisor and historian. The documents … offer little insight. … Under the scope of services section, the contract says, ‘Consultant will provide consulting and related services as requested by Freddie Mac’s Director, Public Policy in exchange for which Freddie Mac will pay consultant $25,000 per each full calendar month during which Consultant provided Services.’” (Seema Mehta, “Gingrich’s Freddie Mac Contract Made Public Shortly Before Debate,” Los Angeles Times, 1/23/12)
Why did you report to the “head of Freddie Mac’s lobbying operations” if you were, as you claim, not a lobbyist?
· “It Appears He Was Being Paid To Aid Freddie Mac’s Lobbying Agenda.” “[Gingrich’s] Freddie Mac work gives off a whiff of lobbying, according to the contract he just released. Specifically, the Freddie Mac executive who hired Gingrich was not the CEO, nor the VP for operations, or the VP for communications, but Craig Thomas, the VP for Public Policy - that is, the head of Freddie Mac’s lobbying operations. Thomas was a registered lobbyist at the time. … So, Gingrich may or may not have made lobbying contacts on Freddie’s behalf, but it appears he was being paid to aid Freddie Mac’s lobbying agenda.” (Timothy P. Carney, “Gingrich Worked For Freddie Mac’s Lobby Shop,” The Washington Examiner, 1/23/12)
When will you release the invoices that you provided to Freddie Mac, detailing what specific services you provided in exchange for $25,000 per month?
· The Contract Mentions Monthly Invoices That Provide “More Detailed Records” Of What Gingrich Did For Freddie Mac - But Gingrich Has Not Released Those Documents. “At least one clause implies that more detailed records were submitted as part of his consultancy. A provision in the ‘compensation’ section of the contract required Mr. Gingrich to submit a ‘detailed description of the services performed during the prior month’ on the 15th of every month. His payment was contingent upon receiving those invoices. Those invoices were not made available Monday.” (“Gingrich Releases A Freddie Mac Contract With Few Details,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)
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