“If you want to put people in jail — I want to second what Michele [Bachmann] said — you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment and the politicians who put this country in trouble,” Gingrich said.
But Gingrich has found himself in hot water since a Bloomberg report revealed that his consulting group earned between $1.6 million and $1.8 million from the mortgage giant. Gingrich has maintained that he did no lobbying, offering to turn over whatever records he legally could and saying he only provided “strategic advice.”
“I just want to emphasize this: I did no lobbying, I did not reach out to Capitol Hill,” Gingrich said Wednesday on the Laura Ingraham radio show. “I was not directly engaged in that way. I gave them advice on what they could do. But I’m not in the business of lobbying, period.”
Still, Gingrich acknowledged, Freddie Mac likely hired him based on his experience as Speaker of the House.
“I would assume they wanted the strategic advice of somebody who had been Speaker of the House and somebody who knew a fair amount about what was going on. And from that perspective I was very happy to offer them advice,” Gingrich said.
Frank rejected Gingrich’s claims, saying “there are two ‘L’ words that have to do with Newt — lobbyist and liar.”
“He was clearly there as a lobbyist and slipped and acknowledged that … you don’t enhance your academic credentials by serving as Speaker, you enhance your credentials as a lobbyist.”
Gingrich took his own shots at Frank during his Ingraham interview, saying that Frank accepting campaign donations from Freddie Mac was worse than Gingrich’s consulting fee.
“I wasn’t Speaker at the time, but Barney Frank was in Congress,” Gingrich said.
“The difference was, [if I did] something for them when I was Speaker, that would be a very different thing.”