This morning, Newt Gingrich encouraged Nancy Pelosi to come forward with any damaging information that she may have about his past. This afternoon, a legal watchdog group took steps to try and beat her to it.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced in a press release that they are filing Freedom of Information Act requests with the IRS and the Department of Justice. CREW is hoping to access documents which were turned over by the House Ethics Committee with regards to its investigation of Gingrich’s use of tax-exempt organizations for political purposes.
Gingrich was investigated by the House in 1996 and 1997 for using charitable organizations to underwrite his political activities, and for subsequently making false statements to the ethics committee. At the conclusion of the investigation, Gingrich was officially reprimanded and fined $300,000 dollars for his transgressions.
“A self-styled historian, Mr. Gingrich’s true talent lies in revising history. Contrary to what he tells voters now, his ethical transgressions were quite serious,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan [in the press release.] “We agree with presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the American public deserves to learn the details of the committee’s investigation. We should have the chance to judge for ourselves whether the failure of the IRS and DOJ to take action was reasonable given the evidence the committee provided.”
“For too long, crooked politicians have had little to fear from federal law enforcement,” said Ms. Sloan. “Mr. Gingrich is about as forthcoming about the ethics investigation as he is about his lobbying activities so it is incumbent on these agencies to release these records as quickly as possible, allowing Americans to judge the matter for themselves.”
The release of the documents could be deeply damaging to Gingrich’s presidential campaign. Romney has recently attacked Gingrich for his lack of transparency with regards to his ethics violations, along with his work for Freddie Mac and the Center for Health Transformation. Additionally, shining the spotlight on his ethics violation while serving as Speaker of the House could destroy Gingrich’s efforts to cast himself as a Washington outsider.
Click here to read CREW’s FOIA request with the IRS.
Click here to read CREW’s request for expedition with the IRS.
Click here to read CREW’s FOIA request with the DOJ.
Click here to read CREW’s request for expedition with the DOJ.