Non-Lobbyist Newt Gingrich Acted a Lot Like a Lobbyist

Ex-speaker hawked clients' products, arranged meetings
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2011 10:15 AM CST
Non-Lobbyist Newt Gingrich Acted a Lot Like a Lobbyist
Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gestures as he speaks, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 in Bluffton, S.C.   (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

Newt Gingrich’s consulting clients all signed contracts saying that Gingrich “does not provide lobbying services of any kind,” but what he did for them looks an awful lot like lobbying to the New York Times. Gingrich actively hawked his clients’ products in his presentations to lawmakers, and arranged meetings between his clients and lawmakers. His Center for Health Transformation advertised that $200,000-per-year clients would gain “contacts at the highest levels” of government and “increase your channels of input to decision makers.”

In one case, Gingrich touted his client HealthTrio, which creates electronic health records, in testimony before Congress, then arranged for a meeting between HealthTrio, IBM and top federal officials, and finally helped Patrick Kennedy draft legislation promoting electronic health records. One congressional staffer says Gingrich frequently mentioned Center members without making clear that those companies were paying him. But Gingrich’s camp insists he was only using clients to illustrate his preconceived ideas, and that clients paid him because they supported those ideas. (More Newt Gingrich stories.)

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