Was Gingrich fined $300,000 for House ethics violations or was he exonerated and only paid for a mistake made by his lawyers that cost the Committee an extra $300,000.00– which he repaid? Here are the facts that I took from a NewsMax.com report. Read it and then you decide.
* The record of the House debate in January 1997 as recorded in the Congressional Record, supports Gingrich’s contention that the $300,000 he paid was a “reimbursement” or “sanction” related to legal fees, but not a fine or admission of any wrongdoing.
* Media accounts continue to refer to the payment as a fine, although the official Ethics Committee report on the matter states it was reimbursement.
* Gingrich paid the cost of legal bills associated with a multi-year House inquiry. The charge was that he had misused a tax-exempt organization he controlled for political purposes.
* The ethics charges reportedly had their origins in a complaint filed against Gingrich in September of 1994 by then-Rep. Ben Jones, D-Ga., who was running against Gingrich for office. Among the allegations: That the speaker received inappropriate gifts and had received improper contributions from GOPAC
- GOPAC is a political action committee he had once been in charge of.
- House Special Counsel James M. Cole alleged that a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization paid for two courses Gingrich taught at Georgia colleges. Cole stated that the courses, titled Renewing American Civilization, were “substantially motivated by partisan, political goals,” and therefore a violation of the organizations’ tax-exempt status.
- The IRS launched a three-year probe to investigate that charge. It dropped its investigation after declaring that Gingrich’s courses were “educational in content.”
- The report of the Select Committee on Ethics, titled “In the Matter of Representative Newt Gingrich,” was released Jan. 17, 1997. It stated that 70 people were interviewed during the investigation, and 150,000 pages of documents were reviewed.
* The report stated that the committee, “by a roll call vote of 7-1, [is] recommending that Representative Gingrich be reprimanded and ordered to reimburse the House for some of the costs of the investigation in the amount of $300,000.”
* Lets see, the IRS says Gingrich’s courses were “educational in content yet the ethics charges alleged that a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization paid for two courses Gingrich taught, titled Renewing American Civilization, were “substantially motivated by partisan, political goals.”
* In my opinion, the charge is hogwash and politically motivated because Democrats had lost Control after 40 years and they were ticked-off!
* If the IRS says the courses were educational in content and If no mention of being politically motivated, then why did they go after him? They went after him because the organization he was associated with was a nonprofit organization and that gave them an opening. It appears to me that “politics are politics”.
* The report later stated that “the appropriate sanction should be a reprimand and a payment reimbursing the House for some of the costs of the investigation in the amount of $300,000.”
* The report quoted Special Counsel Cole as stating that “the appropriate sanction for the conduct described in the original Statement of Alleged Violations is a reprimand and the payment of $300,000 toward the cost of the preliminary inquiry.” Yet, at no point did the report refer to the $300,000 as a fine,which would imply a judicially imposed penalty. In my opinion, Gingrich’s claim is accurate and I believe his statement is the bottom line in this discussion:
On Monday, Gingrich insisted: “And the fact is, on every single ethics charge of substance that was dismissed in the end, the only thing we did wrong is we had … one letter was in error. I didn`t pay a fine. I paid the cost of going through the process of determining it was wrong.”
Former GOP Rep. Bob Walker, who represented Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District from 1977 to 1997, came to the former speaker’s defense on Tuesday, and supported his account of what happened.
Walker said that Gingrich was “totally exonerated” on the 84 charges leveled by Democrats, which he described as “just malicious.”
“Ultimately, they came to the conclusion that Newt needed better representation,” Walker told Newsmax on Tuesday. “And actually, that’s what he was reprimanded for, for these documents that were misfiled with the committee. Newt agreed as they were finishing up the investigation, to reimburse the committee $300,000, which they claimed was the cost of the additional investigation that they had to do.
“So he personally stepped forward to reimburse the committee at that point,” Walker said. “In the committee report, it says specifically that this is a reimbursement by Newt Gingrich, and that it was not a fine. The Democrats of course immediately stepped forward and called it a fine, but on the House floor during the debate, and in the document itself, it makes the specific statement that there was no fine involved, that this was a reimbursement for the cost of the additional investigation.”
FreedomWorks chairman and former House Majority Leader Rep. Dick Armey told CNN: “Newt had problems, but I don’t think it was accurate to say he resigned in disgrace.” Armey added: “By the time he left his speakership, he had resolved all the ethical allegations that had been alleged and formally charged against him.”
Despite the fact that the House Ethics Committee specified the payment by Gingrich was not a fine, reporters routinely continue to describe it that way. A USAToday fact-checking piece published Tuesday said of Gingrich’s response: “Technically he’s correct. The Ethics Committee report [page 94] didn’t call it a fine, but rather a ‘payment reimbursing the House for some of the costs of the investigation.’”
Read more on Newsmax.com: Gingrich Never Fined, Ethics Violation, Ethics Probe Important:
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