Newt and the House Ethics Committee

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NANCY’S DILEMMA

On March 21, Nancy Johnson, chair of the House Ethics Committee, told reporters that the allegations against the Speaker were not “frivolous.”

Gingrich ally Paul Weyrich struck back quickly, saying that if Johnson “makes the wrong decision” on an investigator, “she will weaken the speaker of her own party and …affect her chances of continuing to be a committee chairman.”

Meanwhile, Gingrich slammed a bill through the House that was Johnson’s biggest priority this year. The bill benefits the powerful insurance companies in her home state of Connecticut, from whom she collected $95,000 in 1991-1992.

Was Gingrich trying to influence the Ethics Committee chair? Continued questions about Johnson’s impartiality are legitimate and inevitable.


All four Republicans on the Ethics Committee have at least one seeming conflict with either Gingrich or GOPAC.

  • Porter Goss’ campaign contributed $5,000 last year to Gingrich’s GOPAC. Goss, of Florida, said he was surprised to have been reappointed to the panel.
  • Steven Schiff, of New Mexico, may be called as a witness in the very case he is expected to judge. In 1993, a lobbyist for the restaurant industry, Richard Berman, gave $25,000 to Gingrich’s college course while seeking Newt’s help in testifying against a bill authored by Schiff. (See “The Berman Letter”) Democrats claim the incident constitutes an illegal gratuity and Schiff could be asked to testify.
  • Jim Bunning, of Kentucky, received support from GOPAC in 1979 when he ran for the Kentucky legislature. He has also attended GOPAC meetings. He denies a conflict, noting that Gingrich didn’t run GOPAC at that time. But Bunning also shares with GOPAC a billionaire contributor, Carl Lindner of Cincinnati (a former cohort of Charles Keating).
  • Finally, Dave Hobson, of Ohio, privately solicited a letter from a former Ethics Committee staffer that is being used in Gingrich’s defense.

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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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