Newt Gingrich and the Ridiculous "EthicsViolations" Penalty
Below is what I wrote in 1997 after Newt Gingrich was fined $300,000.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, saying he is ``a person of limited means,'' is paying the$300,000ethics penalty with a loan from 1996 Republican presidential candidate BobDole.And the Democrats are whining about it. Why?First of all, what exactly were the charges against Newt? David Bonior brought 75charges against Newt-and 74 of them were found to have NO MERIT WHATSOEVER.The last charge, whether Newt funded his college class "Renewing AmericanCivilization" properly, was too complicated a tax issue for the committee to investigateon its own, so they brought in an outside tax expert to investigate. Two charges aroseout of this investigation.The first 'charge' from the ethics committee is that he "may have" violated tax law byusing tax-deductible contributions from nonprofit organizations to teach an allegedlypartisan college course.The lectures never mentioned the words "Republicans" or "Democrats," and one entiresession was spent praising FDR. Is that "partisan?" Not only has a former commissioner of the IRS has come forward and said that no tax laws were violated, but an EthicsCommittee lawyer even gave approval for the class before Newt started it.The second 'charge' from the committee is that, in the course of the investigation, Newtprovided false information to the committee. Do you know what this "false information"isNewttestified that the above contributions were in fact made by those organizations to"Renewing American Civilization." He filed papers that stated the very same thing. Thisis never a fact that anyone was trying to hide. But one paper filed with the committeestated that those groups did not make the contributions. So is this a big deal? Is this"lying to Congress?"What's funny is that the Ethics Committee itself approved the course Newt taught, thesame course that started this whole "ethics violation" farce. Newt wasn't even paid for the course. In any case, I am not getting into all the details of the whole ethics violationmess, and the incredible double standard shown, since that would warrant a separateweb site. I just find it odd that the Ethics Committee turned around and slammed Newt