Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


As you read this, the House Ethics Committee is moving toward
hiring an outside counsel to investigate charges against Speaker of
the House Newt Gingrich.

As Mother Jones has reported over the last year, Gingrich
constructed an illegal fundraising machine that enabled him to flout
federal campaign laws and misuse the tax-exempt status allowed
charities. The machine consisted of Gingrich’s political action
committee, GOPAC; his think tank, the Progress & Freedom
Foundation; and his televised college course, “Renewing American
Civilization.” These intertwined projects made up a stealth
organization that sponsored congressional candidates who would be
loyal to Gingrich. As far back as 1986, current Republican
presidential candidate Lamar Alexander understood Gingrich was
using GOPAC for this purpose (see documents below).

In addition to the ethics charges pending against Gingrich, the
Federal Election Commission is suing GOPAC for evading campaign
finance laws. Among the evidence the FEC has presented in U.S.
District Court is a

leaked
list of major GOPAC donors
annotated by
Mother Jones. The list includes many donors who appear to have
received political paybacks. (For details on yet another Gingrich
organization through which donors may be trying to buy influence, see
Reading between the lines.)

To show that the speaker of the House is not above the law, the
Ethics Committee must appoint an independent, outside counsel, and
must place no limits on the scope of the investigation. Specifically,
the counsel needs to get a complete accounting of all the money
Gingrich’s various enterprises took in and spent. Anything less will
open the Ethics Committee to charges of a cover-up.

Under Gingrich’s control, GOPAC refused to release its finances,
claiming it funded mostly local and state campaigns and therefore
didn’t need to comply with federal laws. But a leaked 1986
correspondence between Gingrich, then-Tennessee Gov. Lamar
Alexander, and Alexander fundraiser Ted Welch suggests otherwise:


From Newt Gingrich to Ted Welch:

“It’s our job to help our party to become competitive in the
additional districts it will take to allow us to capture a majority
in the U.S. House–some 50 in all. We work in conjunction with the
National Congressional Committee, and our program has the hearty
endorsement of President Reagan and other Republican leaders.”
–Newt Gingrich

From Lamar Alexander to Newt
Gingrich:

“This suggestion is that you are now busy electing
congressmen, instead of [state] legislators…. The last
thing we need is another operation promoting senators and
congressmen.” –Lamar Alexander

Click on the above letters to see the full-sized, scanned image
of each.

Want more on Newt? Check out Newt-O-Rama.
It contains links
to all our stuff on our favorite Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.
For more on Lamar Alexander’s presidential bid, or for news
on any candidate, visit The
Race for the White House
.

See Hot!Media for more resources.

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.

payment methods

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.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate