Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich rebuked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for suggesting that she might unearth details of a 1990s ethics probe against him if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee.
Gingrich, whom the House reprimanded in 1997 after an ethics investigation, said members of Congress should bring charges against Pelosi, herself a former speaker, if she follows through on her hint that she might air aspects of the probe “when the time’s right.”
“I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift,” said Gingrich, taking questions from reporters in New York after meeting today with real estate developer Donald Trump. “It tells you how capriciously political that committee was that she was on it. It tells you how tainted the outcome was that she was on it.”
Pelosi, a California Democrat, told the website Talking Points Memo Dec. 2 that she relished the possibility that Gingrich, who is rising in the polls, might become the Republican nominee
“One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich,” she said. “I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”
She declined to say more, adding, “When the time’s right.”
Her spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, said today Pelosi “was clearly referring to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware.”
Pelosi sat on the panel, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, that concluded Gingrich used tax-exempt contributions for political purposes and then misled congressional investigators about it. The charges stemmed from a college course Gingrich taught from 1993 to 1995 that was linked to GOPAC, his political action committee, in violation of federal laws barring the use of tax-exempt funds for partisan purposes.
Gingrich, 68, said he had turned over 1 million pages of material for the investigation, and that most of the charges against him were “repudiated as false.” He said that his “one mistake made was a letter written by a lawyer that I didn’t read carefully.”
“I would hope the House would immediately condemn her if she uses any material that was gathered while she was on the Ethics Committee,” he said of Pelosi.
Gingrich and Pelosi appeared together on a loveseat at the foot of the Capitol in a strange-bedfellows 2008 television advertisement calling for action to address climate change, an event Gingrich now calls “the dumbest single thing I’ve done.”
He tried at the time to avoid being paired with Pelosi, telling former Vice President Al Gore, who personally invited him to participate, that appearing with her would be “simply too problematic” given the “current political environment.”
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