Be clear about one thing: the Ethics Charges against Newt Gringrich, for which he was fined, involved teaching conservatism in a university classroom. If this story is true, and I find it hard to believe it is, the Romney campaign is sending Newt Gingrich a cake to celebrate the day Newt was reprimanded with a fine. The fine of $300,000 was set ONLY to cover expenses of the House Ethics Committee witchhunt.
UPDATE 1-22-12: Two new updates with additional information on Newt’s House Ethics charges: Gingrich: The Concession Cake and Newt’s Ethics and Gingrich Ethics Charges: Concluded Nothing. Between these three articles, the Ethics shame is exposed for what it is – an assault on conservatism in the classroom.
The SubCommittee suspected that Gingrich violated the 501(3)(c) tax codes,…but that they COULD NOT, and DID NOT conclude this to be the case. They found that he provided information that was inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable, dragging the Committee’s work out longer than they wished, and so they fined him $300,000 to cover their expenses.
For that, Mitt Romney is sending a cake to celebrate the 15-year anniversary. I would like one honest reporter to ask Mitt Romney if he knows what the reprimand and fine was about, and doesn’t he think it was simply another attack on conservatism. I’d really like to hear that answer.
Democrat Ben Jones, a Gingrich challenger, brought the charges in 1994, alleging Gingrich violated (501(c)(3) organizations for political gain.
When not resolved in the 103rd Congress, Democrat David Bonoir took up the mantle in January 1995. Democrats got their claws into the new Speaker of the House, expanded the investigation and formed a Special Counsel. After hiring an outside attorney, other charges came forth:
1. Did Gingrich provide accurate and reliable information in relationship to the course, Renewing American Civilization and what was GOPAC’s, and Progress and Freedom Foundation’s relationship to the course
2) Did Gingrich’s relationship with the Progress and Freedom Foundation violate 501(c)(3) of the IRS code?
3) Did Gingrich violate House Rule 45, the use of personnel and facilities of the Progress and Freedom Foundation for official purposes?
4. Did Gingrich violate activities on behalf of the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation under it’s 501(3)(c) of the IRS code (House Rule 43, C1.1).
Directly from a Report the Select Committee on Ethics “In the matter of Representative Newt Gingrich:”
…the subcommittee issued a Statement of Alleged Violation with respect to the initial allegation pertaining to Renewing American Civilization and also with respect to items 1 and 4 above.
The Subcommittee DID NOT find any violations of House Rules in regard to the issues set forth in items 2 and 3 above.
The Subcommittee, however, decided to recommend that the full Committee make available to the IRS documents produced during the Preliminary Inquiry for use in its ongoing inquiries of 501(c)(3) organization.
In regard to item 3 above, the Subcommittee decided to issue some advice to Members concerning the proper use of outside consultants for official purposes.
The SubCommittee then voted and recommended Gingrich for reprimand and a fine of $300,000 “for some of the costs of the investigation….” Voting for the fine and reprimand: Porter Goss (R), Steven Schiff (R), Ben Cardin (D), Nancy Pelosi (D), Robert Borski (D), Thomas Sawyer (D). Texan Congressman Lamar Smith was the lone Republican ‘no’ vote, and the only Republican still serving in the House.
Looking back, how is Porter Goss thinking about this today. Congressman Steven Schiff is deceased. How different our country might be today had Newt’s teachings reverberated through academia. Here’s a quote from one of his classes:
“American civilization cannot survive with 12-year-olds having babies, 15-year-olds shooting one another, 17-year-olds dying of AIDS, and 18-year-olds graduating with diplomas they cannot read,” Gingrich lectured.
The investigation lasted from January 3, 1996 to December 12, 1996.
Oh the irony:
CHARLIE RANGEL: The Charlie Rangel scandal involved, unpaid income and assets resulting in upaid taxes, taking sponsored trips to the Caribbean, using the House parking garage for his own personal storage space, against House rules – for years! He used House letterhead to solicit contributions. A Bermuda tax shelter, under loopholes, gained tens of millions of dollar in tax breaks. Rangel voted against the loopholes, but accepted $1 MILLION in campaign contribution from the company.
Rangel’s sanctions from the House Ethics Committee, after years of review: he was found guilty of 11 of 13 charges, censured and ordered to pay his taxes.
MAXINE WATERS: In July 2010 coming House Ethics charges against Maxine Waters were announced. A $12 MILLION bailout went to OneUnited Bank:
The funding came three months after Waters, a senior member of the committee that oversees banking, helped arrange a meeting between officials of the bank, other minority-owned financial institutions and Treasury Department representatives.
Waters’ husband, Sidney Williams, had owned stock in the bank and served on its board.
A “public trial” for Waters was delayed in December 2010 due to “the discovery of new materials.” July 2011, the Ethic Committee announced they were bringing in outside council to examine their own partisianship. Waters demanded a dismissal. I see no news on this since the July 2011 report.
Cole also said that while the committee had not reached a conclusion about whether Gingrich had violated tax laws, that matter will be left to the Internal Revenue Service. The committee plans to make available its files to the IRS….
The original charges had fallen by the wayside. Gingrich admitted he had unintentionally but materially misled the committee and had failed to keep the college course insulated from partisan politics.
These charges were nothing. In the NPR article, Gingrich is quoted saying “I should have fought back harder against the Democrat assault.” If the story of the cake delivery is true, it will tear GOPers even farther apart. If Romney is the nominee, I have to support him, and I have said I will do so enthusiastically. That waning enthusiasm will have to convert to wicked energy to have anyone but Obama in the White House. See the Romney campaign press release announcing the “cake” here. Read the Mediate report here.