Newt Gingrich’s contract with Fannie Mae

(Washington, DC) Newt Gingrich released his contract with Fannie Mae just in time to argue about it with Mitt Romney. At the Florida debate, Romney said, “This contract proves you were not a historian. You were a consultant …. And you were hired by the chief lobbyist of Freddie Mac.” Gingrich replied, “Gov. Romney has done consulting work for years … I’ve never suggested his consulting work was lobbying.”

The problem is not whether Newt Gingrich “consulted.” Consulting could mean anything, including historical research. The contract is fairly remarkable for not saying what his consultancy will entail. There are no deliverables, no scope of work, no deadlines, no metrics. I don’t know how common such vagueness is on K Street, but no organization I have ever dealt with would tolerate it. I can think of only two explanations:

  1. Fannie Mae and Newt Gingrich had an understanding about what he would do that they did not want to commit to paper. For instance, he was going to lobby but didn’t want to register as a federal lobbyist. Or …
  2. Gingrich was not going to do anything. Fannie Mae was simply willing to pay him $300,000 to keep him happy and friendly.

If Gingrich was selling the influence he had obtained as a public official, I think that’s fundamentally unethical. At a minimum, it should be disclosed. If he was selling something of intrinsic value, such as history or strategy, then I don’t see why it would be left unmentioned in the contract.

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.
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  • Drolet

    Dear Professor Livine:

     Got your name from YuoGov.  It was your last poll that I wasn’t qualifide to take. However: Today I’m reading bits of your work and talks on the internet. You and I are from different worlds, but I believe we believe in the same political ideology.
    However:  I’m  now retired to Fl. prior to that, we worked union construction  in Boston for almost 40 years. Boston is where I was born.  I’m been trained starting 1962 for for the building trades. Made a good living. But that dream is gone for good.  I fear for our grand children. Pres.  Reagan showed America what Capitalism was all about, as you know his New World Order, Free Trade ect.  Then GW Bush was nothing more than a world disaster.  His (  GWB ) backgrown fairs from a true fanmily of Illuminati Reptilian politicions. What I’m saying for the good of this nation,  learned people like yourself  must teach the young people were being lead like sheep to the sloghter by the Right wing meada ( Fox News ) and the like.  One more word before signing out. Capitalism is on its way out.  like every other form of gov. from earily days of  Roman Impire to Commonist Russia  they all eat themself  up in time.   My best wishers, continue the good work.

    • PeterLevine

       Thanks! (sorry you couldn’t do the YouGov survey–there was probably some research criterion that you didn’t happen to meet.) – Peter