Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earned at least $1.6 million between 1999 and 2007 in "consulting" fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, Bloomberg News reported November 16, even as Gingrich acknowledged for the first time that he had a larger consulting role than as a staff historian. The figure was more than five times the previously reported amount.
Gingrich, asked how he earned some $300,000 in consulting fees with Freddie Mac in a November 9 presidential debate, said his role was to offer advice as an "historian." Moreover, Gingrich denied acting as a lobbyist and claimed to advise the mortgage giant to end their practice of guaranteeing sub-prime mortgages. Freddie Mac and its sister organization, chartered by Congress, fueled the housing bubble in the last decade. "My advice," Gingrich said in that debate, "I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible."
The Bloomberg report countered Gingrich's debate claims about his dissent from Freddie Mac's policies. "None of the former Freddie Mac officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said Gingrich raised the issue of the housing bubble or was critical of Freddie Mac’s business model." Gingrich told Bloomberg that he "offered them [Freddie Mac] advice on precisely what they didn’t do," but it's unclear during which stint as a counselor Gingrich offered this advice, if he offered the advice at all. Gingrich worked for Freddie Mac as a consultant from 1999-2002 and 2006-07 and his consulting firm, The Gingrich Group, earned between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees.
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Photo of Newt Gingrich: AP Images