Newt Gingrich Cleared! Now How About a Refund?

By Carolyn Gargaro Rightgrrl Co-Founder February 16, 1999 Newt Gingrich has been cleared!! Remember the uproar regarding Newt's "ethics violations?" People can refresh their memory by reading an article I wrote in 1997 about these charges. In brief, David Bonior brought 75 ethics charges against Newt, 74 which were found to have no merit whatsoever (and people say that Ken Starr is on a "witch hunt?"). The last charge, whether Newt funded his college class "Renewing American Civilization" properly, was too complicated a tax issue for the committee to investigate on its own, so they brought in an outside tax expert to investigate. Two charges arose out of this investigation. The first 'charge' from the ethics committee is that he "may have" violated tax law by using tax-deductible contributions from nonprofit organizations to teach an allegedly partisan college course. The second 'charge' from the committee is that, in the course of the investigation, Newt provided false information to the committee. And what was this "false information?" Newt testified that the above contributions were in fact made by those organizations to "Renewing American Civilization." He filed papers that stated the very same thing. This is never a fact that anyone was trying to hide. But one paper filed with the committee stated that those groups did not make the contributions. For this, there was an uproar about Newt's ethics, and he was fined. Basically, Newt was fined $300,000 because he didn't read his lawyers' documents carefully. I could really get into the hypocrisy of this in light of the fact that people want to excuse Bill Clinton for lying under oath, (maybe if the course Newt had taught was about SEX the Democrats would feel differently) but that's not the point of this article. Well, after a 3.5 year probe, after Newt paid the $300,000 fine, the IRS announced on February 3, 1999, that it found NO IMPROPRIETIES IN THE TAX FILINGS of Gingrich and the sponsoring Progress and Freedom Foundation. The IRS said the principles taught in the course were not of use only in political campaigns. "The ... course taught principles from American civilization that could be used by each American in everyday life whether the person is a welfare recipient, the head of a large

corporation, or a politician." Well isn't that nice - and isn't that what Newt had been saying all along? In other words, the ethics charges David Bonior filed against Newt were ALL bogus. Every single one of them. In the end, what was Newt's "ethics problems"? One of the papers filed by his lawyers had an error and Newt didn't catch it. That little oversight cost $300,000. Some might say "vindication is vindication" and Newt should just be tickled about this. . . but would YOU feel better if you've already lost $300,000 and your job in the process? Where are the cries about how long and how much money was spent on this investigation? Where are all the news stories about this vindication? Granted, there have been some news stories but certainly not that many. Perhaps the news isn't quite as big when it's Newt who is the one in the right and his accusers are the ones in the wrong. Now, if some people already see the irony of Newt being blasted for "lying to congress" because one of his lawyers' documents was in error while people argue that we should ignore that fact that Bill Clinton lied under oath, here's a little more irony for you. Democrats have argued over and over again that even if Clinton DID lie in his deposition in Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit, it doesn't matter because the suit was eventually thrown out of court. Thus, any lies were "not material" and so not valid grounds for punishment, and certainly not impeachment. Well, the IRS has found that there were NO IMPROPRIETIES IN THE TAX FILINGS. Using the same rationale as Clinton's supporters, shouldn't Newt Gingrich be allowed to get his $300,000 back, since any misstatements he might have made are now "not material?" David Bonior stated a couple of years ago that "Mr. Gingrich engaged in a pattern of tax fraud." Well, it now looks as if Bonior was way out in left field on all 75 of his accusations. How about a censure of David Bonior for filing 7 unfounded charges against him, so Newt can at least get his good name back? But how could I forget? We are in the age of forgiveness, where we just "forgive and forget" perjury and obstruction of justice, so I guess that means forgiving David Bonior too. Too bad people weren't as "forgiving" when it was Newt Gingrich in the hot seat. This article copyright © 1999 by Carolyn Gargaro and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.

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