Romney’s claims about Newt’s ethics charge are false and misleading
Mitt Romney’s key debate line of late is that Newt resigned in disgrace over ethics charges. It’s even featured in the most recent Romney advertisement (not his SuperPAC) running in Florida.
I posted links the other day showing that the charges against Newt were political and that he ultimately was was vindicated on the single (out of 84) charge to which he agreed to be sanctioned and pay the costs of the investigation. Mark Levin has been outspoken in his objection to the Romney accusations.
Now Byron York has written the definitive take down of the claim that Newt did anything wrong, and that the decision to agree to sanctions was anything other than a politcial decision (h/t several readers in the Tip Line), What Really Happened in the Gingrich Ethics Case?
First, York framed the current Romney position:
The Romney campaign has been hitting Newt Gingrich hard over the 1990s ethics case that resulted in the former Speaker being reprimanded and paying a $300,000 penalty. Before the Iowa caucuses, Romney and his supporting super PAC did serious damage to Gingrich with an ad attacking Gingrich’s ethics past. Since then, Romney has made other ads and web videos focusing on the ethics matter, and at the Republican debate in Tampa Monday night, Romney said Gingrich “had to resign in disgrace.”
In private conversations, Romney aides often mention the ethics case as part of their larger argument that Gingrich would be unelectable in a race against President Obama….
Then York, who covered the ethics investigation in the 1990s, laid out what really happened. Unfortunatey, the truth can’t be summarized in a 30-second commercial. The short story is that there was a trumped-up claim by a Democratic political rival in Georgia that Newt improperly used a history course he taught for political purposes, the Democratic Party used the accusation as payback for Newt having led Republicans to re-take the House in1994, the attackes were pushed by David Bonior based on novel theories, and used relentlessly by the biased mainstream media to attack Republicans. Read the full article, where the details are laid out.
At the end of it all, there was no there there, and Gingrich agreed to the sanctions to stop the damage to the Party:
With the charges against Gingrich megaphoned in the press, Gingrich and Republicans were under intense pressure to end the ordeal. In January, 1997, Gingrich agreed to make a limited confession of wrongdoing in which he pleaded guilty to the previously unknown offense of failing to seek sufficiently detailed advice from a tax lawyer before proceeding with the course. (Gingrich had in fact sought advice from two such lawyers in relation to the course.) Gingrich also admitted that he had provided “inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable” information to Ethics Committee investigators. That “inaccurate” information was Gingrich’s contention that the course was not political — a claim Cole and the committee did not accept, but the IRS later would.
But it did not stop there. Democrats tried to get the IRS to pursue charges against Newt, but after an exhaustive investigation, Newt was vindicated:
It was a huge victory for Democrats. They had deeply wounded the Speaker. But they hadn’t brought him down. So, as Bonior suggested, they sought to push law enforcement to begin a criminal investigation of Gingrich….
The bottom line: Gingrich acted properly and violated no laws. There was no tax fraud scheme. Of course, by that time, Gingrich was out of office, widely presumed to be guilty of something, and his career in politics was (seemingly) over.
There was no crime or ethics violation committed. The Republican Party, which retook the presidency in the 2000 election was better off for Newt having put the matter to rest when he did rather than dragging out the fight for years.
Newt also did not resign his Speakership because of the ethics charges, as the WaPo fact checker found. He resigned two years later because Republicans, though holding the House, did not do as well as expected in the 1998 House elections.
The other irony of all this is that in the mid-1990s while Newt and others were fighting for the Contact with America, taking back the House, Romney joined with the Democrats in attacking the conservative agenda.
So the next time Romney states at a debate or runs an ad alleging that Newt resigned in disgrace because of ethics charges, remember Mike Huckabee’s line from 2008 in response to Romney attack ads.
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[…] » Romney’s claims about Newt’s ethics charge are false and misleading – Le&m… There was no crime or ethics violation committed. The Republican Party, which retook the presidency in the 2000 election was better off for Newt having put the matter to rest when he did rather than dragging out the fight for years. […]
Byron York: “The Republican Party, which retook the presidency in the 2000 election was better off for Newt having put the matter to rest when he did rather than dragging out the fight for years.”
This reminds me a little of Gerald R. Ford, who pardoned Nixon in 1974 (1975?), saying:
“[Nixon/Watergate]…is a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must.”
After years of counterculture pressure (think OWS 24/7 for years and years) and the Viet Nam years, the long Watergate scandal ending in Nixon’s resignation put a cap on a decade long upheaval in America, and I remember it so well. The air was thick with cynicism.
Ford was excoriated for pardoning Nixon, as you might expect, but in my mind it was an act of selfless heroism, politically speaking. Basically, Ford committed political suicide in order to put an end, a punctuation, to a decade of constant turmoil and upheaval in America. He did not expect to run in 1976, but was urged into it because, as incumbent president, he was held to have the best chance of winning in a decidedly anit-Republican era. Of course, he lost to Jimmuh Carter after fighting off Ronald Reagan in the primaries.
(One theory holds that if Ford hadn’t run, we’d have gotten Reagan and there’d never have been a Carter presidency. Another theory holds that Reagan – or any Republican – would have lost to Carter, and that we might never have had a Reagan in the White House. I think if Reagan had lost to Carter in 1976, he’d have beat him in 1980).
Unfortunately for Newt, regardless of the false assesment of the allegations against Newt, the liberals and Romney, only need to repeat it, and damage Newt in the minds of the Voters, and thus at the ballot boxes..
On the other hand, fortunately for Newt, Reagan Conservatives like the Tea Party, do not believe the liberal MSM and Romney. As there are more important issues and factors that Conservative voters are weighing in relation to Romney vs Newt.
The best candidate to take on Obama would be Newt, and the Conservative American people see it in the debates, thus know it when they see it.
“Newt’s Jacksonian Revolution”
By Chris Stirewalt
Jan. 23, 2012- FoxNews.com
President Andrew Jackson in a February, 1834 meeting with Philadelphia financiers about his opposition to the creation of a central bank.
“You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, (bringing his fist down on the table) I will rout you out!”
This article gives the reasons why Newt is now, and why Reagan was then in 1980, the Conservative’s choice to be the Republican Pary Nominee, and U.S. President.
As well as thia article-
Gingrich: “The Rise of the Hoi Polloi”
by Craig Shirley
Jan. 23, 2012
“No one goes around calling themselves a Nixon Republican or a Ford Republican or a Bush Republican. But plenty now proudly call themselves Goldwater Republicans and Reagan Republicans.
Maybe some conservatives will one day be calling themselves “Gingrich Republicans.”
Both of these two articles clearly gives insight and perspective into the what and why Reagan, and now Newt, are the clear conservative choices in this political Republican Primary race, and in any future political races to come.
[…] interaction with Reagan, has written a critical column, Reagan’s Young Lieutenant, Much like Byron York’s column debunking Romney attacks regarding Newt’s ethics charges, Lord’s column is a critical […]
[…] Romney’s claims about Newt’s ethics charge are false and misleading […]
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