GOP Presidential Primary

Romney camp marks anniversary of Gingrich House reprimand

Is the date Jan. 21 about
to be a lot brighter for Newt Gingrich?

As South Carolina
votes Saturday, Mitt Romney’s campaign sent a press release wishing Gingrich a “happy
anniversary” for the House decision to reprimand him, which happened on Jan.
21, 1997. 

Headlined “Happy 15th
Anniversary, Mr. Speaker,” the release said, “Fifteen years ago today, Newt
Gingrich became the first House speaker in American history to be reprimanded
by his colleagues.”

{mosads}Gingrich was
investigated for tax irregularities and for campaign finance disclosure
violations in the late 1990s. The matter, conducted when Republicans controlled
the House, was settled when Gingrich paid a $300,000 fine and was reprimanded
for violating House rules.

Romney’s campaign has
worked to deflect controversy over the release of his tax returns by focusing
attention on Gingrich’s ethics probe.

Romney’s day-of primary
reminder followed Romney surrogate Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) calling on Friday for
Gingrich to release the Ethics Committee report that led to the reprimand and fine.

Also on Friday, Romney
surrogate and former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu (R) blasted Gingrich on
CNN’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien”, saying the report was a
“serious problem.”

“What do you
think you’re going to find in his [Romney’s] taxes? The important thing is to
find things that could be an October surprise problem,” Sununu said.
“Newt Gingrich has a serious problem with the package that the Ethics
committee had when they fined him $300,000.”

“Ring out the
laundry. That’s more important than anything else. Nancy Pelosi was on that
group. If Nancy Pelosi knows, President Obama knows. We ought to be able to
know now,” he added.

Of course, if Gingrich
wins in South Carolina tonight, he’ll have a much sweeter event to celebrate
the date of Jan. 21.

Gingrich was peaking
with leads on Romney in two polls released
Saturday morning.


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