Was Newt Gingrich "working as an influence peddler" on behalf of mortgage titan Freddie Mac, as Mitt Romney charges?
Yesterday, The Gingrich Group released its 2006 contract with Freddie Mac. Here is the contract's complete description of The Gingrich Group's "scope of services:"
"Consultant will provide consulting and related services as requested by Freddie Mac's Director, Public Policy in exchange for which Freddie Mac will pay Consultant $25,000 per each full calendar month during which Consultant provides Services."
So 25 grand a month for "consulting and related services" for Freddie's head of public policy. Romney calls that lobbying.
"I have never, ever gone and done any lobbying," Gingrich said during last night's debate. He explained that The Gingrich Group hired an expert to inform employees of "the bright line between what you can do as a citizen and what you do as a lobbyist."
Whenever you need to hire someone to explain the difference between legal activity and illegal activity, you're treading too close to the line and probably not acting in good faith.
Go to The Gingrich Group's website, and you'll see that it has been renamed the Center for Health Transformation, a "collaboration of private and public sector leaders." Does that sound like a lobbying group to you?
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Freddie Mac is a corporate person with First Amendment rights.