Gingrich Rebuts ABC, Says Charity Payments Were Legal, Ethical Report, Says Charity

Tuesday, 14 Jun 2011 08:29 PM

By Martin Gould

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Newt Gingrich hit back Tuesday at claims that a charity he founded paid $220,000 to his for-profit company over two years.

Newt Gingrich, charity, payments, legal, ReALAn ABC News probe found that the charity, Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), paid Gingrich Communications compensation for the salary of the former House speaker’s longtime spokesman Rick Tyler, one of the aides who quit last week.

But Joe DeSantis, one of the few who stayed with Gingrich, claimed the TV station found no illegal activity.

“That’s because both ReAL and Gingrich Communications took great care to make sure all resources were being used legally and ethically,” DeSantis said. Paying for Tyler’s services was “perfectly normal and common practices.”

“The rest was to purchase books, which ReAL used for their fundraising efforts,” DeSantis said. “The book purchases were made ‘at cost’ meaning there was zero profit made by Gingrich Communications or Newt on the sale."

ABC said Gingrich has a complex web of companies that operate under the banner Newt Inc. “It is often difficult to tell where the work of one Gingrich entity ends and where the work of another begins.

“For instance, money raised by a political group he founded, American Solutions, paid for millions of dollars worth of charter jet flights Gingrich took to crisscross the country promoting the movies of his production company.”

ABC said Newt Inc. had kept Gingrich, now running for the Republican nomination for president, in the public eye since he quit the House in 1999.

“It has also made him rich: He bought a $1 million home in the suburbs of Washington, secured a $500,000 line of credit from Tiffany’s, and, most recently, went on a two-week luxury cruise, the last of which cited as a reason for many of his campaign staff quitting en masse.

“Figuring out how all his organizations work together can be tricky,” the ABC report said.

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