GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has come under fire for his ties to mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which paid him $1.6 million to do “strategic advising,” which many charged was lobbying in everything but name. Gingrich has insisted he did not lobby for the company and was merely employed as a “historian.”
One way to settle the issue would for the former speaker to publicize his contract with Freddie Mac. Gingrich has not done thus far, saying he would like to, but is bound by a confidentiality agreement. A campaign lawyer contacted Freddie Mac, the campaign said, to request the waiver from the agreement. “They wouldn’t do it,” Gingrich said this week of the prospect of Freddie Mac allowing him to break the contract.
However, Bloomberg News reports today that Freddie Mac is okay with releasing the contract:
Freddie Mac Vice President Sharon McHale gave a different account in an interview yesterday.
“We are not opposed to Mr. Gingrich discussing the broad terms of his consulting agreement with Freddie Mac,” she said. “He is welcome to release the contract.”
Once informed of Freddie Mac’s position, Gingrich hardly jumped at the opportunity to release the contract, dodging a question about it at a town hall in New Hampshire yesterday and referring the reporter to his campaign spokesman. That spokesman, R.C. Hammond, however, refused to say whether the campaign will release the contact.”
Gingrich has a long history peddling influence for various corporate interests.
Gingrich told reporters in New Hampshire this afternoon that he’d be “happy” if the consulting company he founded, Center for Health Transformation, agrees to release the contract. The former speaker said he doesn’t have the authority to release the documents because he is no longer involved with the company (he stepped down before launching his presidential campaign), and said the firm may choose not to since they have “confidentiality agreements with all their companies.”