Newt Gingrich helped secure hundreds of thousands of dollars for a successful effort to recall three judges who overruled Iowa’s law prohibiting same-sex marriages, the Los Angeles Times reports, as part of an effort to court social conservatives and make up for past personal transgressions ahead of a potential presidential bid:
Gingrich has also provided financial and strategic support for their causes. Last fall, he played a key behind-the-scenes role in an unprecedented — and successful — campaign to remove three Iowa Supreme Court judges who approved same-sex marriage in the state, helping secure $200,000 in seed money for the effort. [...]
“It wouldn’t have happened without Newt,” said David Lane, executive director of Iowa for Freedom, the organization that led the campaign. “Newt provided strategic advice and arranged the initial seed money, about $200,000, which is what got everything started.” The money came from an anonymous donor whose contribution was arranged by Gingrich, Lane said.
Robert L. Vander Plaats, chief spokesman for the judicial campaign, said the former speaker provided key strategic advice.
He said Gingrich had won over pastors in the state with his “open and transparent” approach. “Does the faith community have high standards? You bet,” said Vander Plaats, who was Huckabee’s state chairman in 2008. “But do we also understand that we all fall short of the standards? Yes, we do.”
Gingrich has previously publicly endorsed Iowa’s successful bid to recall three of the seven judges without disclosing any monetary contributions to the cause. “Iowans are unique in that they have the ability to send a very clear and simple message that the court’s behavior is unacceptable by just voting ‘no’ on the three judges who are up for reappointment,” Gingrich said in an interview with WHO-AM. “If a majority of Iowans vote ‘no,’ that will send a signal to the whole country that there is a citizens revolt under way.” “We’re going to have to fundamentally revisit how we deal with judges because the judicial branch has grown much too powerful and much too dictatorial and now regularly over reaches in telling us how to live,” he added.
Meanwhile, Plaats — who ran the recall campaign Gingrich donated to — is now heading up a new group called the The Family Leader, which is spearheading a campaign to revoke same-sex marriage in Iowa. Plaats, has embarked on a 99-county tour of the state and is hosting a presidential symposium with prominent Republicans to discuss “family” issues. The group also promotes widely discredited and hateful views about gay people and until recently described homosexuality as a public health crisis akin to smoking and endorsed discredited ex-gay reversal therapies.
This post has been updated to better reflect the accuracy of the Times Article.