Most Expensive Housing Historian Ever: Freddie Mac paid Newt Gingrich at least $1.6 million
Now we know how Newt Gingrich afforded all that stuff at Tiffany's.
So you know how the GOP's new Not Romney frontrunner Newt Gingrich implausibly claimed that Freddie Mac had paid him $300,000 merely for his knowledge as a "historian" of housing? And you know how it turns out that Gingrich was actually hired to wield his influence on behalf of the agency, despite his claim to be a political outsider who has to have never done any lobbying? Well, it gets better:
Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.
The total amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment from Freddie Mac that Gingrich was asked about during a Republican presidential debate on Nov. 9 sponsored by CNBC, and more than was disclosed in the middle of congressional investigations into the housing industry collapse.
Gingrich’s business relationship with Freddie Mac spanned a period of eight years. When asked at the debate what he did to earn a $300,000 payment in 2006, the former speaker said he “offered them advice on precisely what they didn’t do,” and warned the company that its lending practices were “insane.” Former Freddie Mac executives who worked with Gingrich dispute that account.
Gingrich’s first contract with the mortgage lender was in 1999, five months after he resigned from Congress and as House speaker, according to a Freddie Mac press release.
Now that Freddie Mac has become part of the Republican narrative absolving conservatives of any of the blame for the financial crisis and housing bubble, Newt Gingrich is running away from his past as fast as he can. Unfortunately for Newt, that's not very fast.