Watchdog: Gingrich should direct DOJ to release ethics records

"The records of the ethics inquiry could shed substantial light on Mr. Gingrich’s conduct while in the House," she continued. "Americans should have the opportunity to evaluate that information in considering Mr. Gingrich’s candidacy.”

The House committee’s investigation focused on Gingrich’s “use of tax-exempt organizations for political purposes,” and the documents were sent to the Justice Department and IRS in 1997, the release states. CREW requested these documents under a Freedom of Information Act request, which was denied due to Gingrich’s “need for privacy.”

The final 145-page report from the Select Committee on Ethics, based on documents used during the investigation, has been publicly available online since 1997.

The department said that “the records could only be released with [Gingrich’s] written permission.” CREW also appealed the Justice Department’s decision.

CREW has also sued the IRS for the records after it did not respond to CREW’s request for the same records, the release states.

“Despite a recent decision by a D.C. federal court holding that the public interest in corruption outweighs a politician’s right to privacy, DOJ continues to withhold information regarding corruption investigations. No wonder the department just won the Rosemary Woods award,” Sloan said, referring to a tongue-in-cheek award for poor government transparency.