Every day a different Gingrich

13 Jan

We’ll say this about Newt Gingrich – if you don’t like what he says, stick around.

It’ll be different the next day.

Gingrich is trying to explain why he is going “negative” against Mitt Romney.

His will has been eroded by those going negative against him.

Honestly.
That’s what’s he’s saying.

Specifically, he says it’s because Romney won’t disown the attack ads produced by a super PAC sponsoring Romney.

“I concede that every effort I made to stay positive and every effort I made to talk Romney out of doing this failed. But you can’t – you know you can’t unilaterally disarm unless you want to get out of the race. And since this is the objective reality we have no choice.”

So, a super PAC supporting Gingrich bought more than $3 million of ad space in South Carolina, and unleashed a scathing attack on Romney’s time as CEO of the private investment firm Bain Capital.

“This is going to be Armageddon – they are going to come in here with everything they’ve got, every surrogate, every ad, every negative attack. At the same time we’ll be drawing a sharp contrast between a Georgia Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate who’s pro-gun control, pro-choice, pro-tax increase, pro-liberal judge, and the voters of South Carolina will have to look and decide.”

So, how do you really feel about Romney?

“I have no view. He is a competitor. He’s somebody who I think was unnecessarily negative and who ran – who knows that some of the things he ran were not true. But that’s his decision. That’s how he wants to play the game.”

Chapter two of our saga:

Gingrich is threatening to sue TV stations that continue to air ads claiming that the Newtster was “fined” $300,000 for ethics violations.

The campaign has fired off letters to TV stations in Florida and South Carolina saying it’s not true he was “fined” for violating House ethics rules and they are “a defamatory communication which exposes this station to potential civil liability.”

Lawyers.
Sniff.

First, TV stations can not refuse to run any political ad as long as it meets legal requirements on identifying who paid for it.

That’s the law and it’s designed to level the playing field so a station can’t refuse political advertising from a candidate it doesn’t like.

If that candidate wants to curse and tell dirty jokes in his ad – it still runs.

That’s the way it is.

As for the so-called fine, it revolves around a two-year House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations that Gingrich improperly used a college course, funded by political donors, to promote political causes.

That would be a violation of federal tax laws as well as House ethics rules.

The probe was headed by a special counsel, James Cole, who now serves as deputy U.S. attorney general at the Justice Department.

Gingrich’s lawyer says the 1997 House Ethics Committee report on the matter that referred to the “appropriate sanction” for Gingrich to be a “reprimand” and a “payment reimbursing the House for some of the costs of the investigation in the amount of $300,000.”

To be fair, the committee’s report specifically did not use the word “fine.”

But look at the broader context: The committee found that the college course that Gingrich had taught at Kennesaw State College while serving in the House was financed by donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations who were solicited to provide support with the understanding that it would be a nonpolitical, tax-exempt project.

In fact, the Ethics Committee found, the course was “actually a coordinated effort” to “help in achieving a partisan, political goal” that might not quality for tax-exempt status. (The IRS, however, never imposed any penalties.)

In addition, the committee found that Gingrich’s lawyers submitted letters about the course that were “inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable”—and that Gingrich should have known this.

The full House voted overwhelmingly, 395 to 28, to adopt the Ethics Committee report and impose the $300,000 penalty.

Was this a fine?
In our book, yes.

Draw your own conclusion.

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