Self-proclaimed housing historian Newt Gingrich had two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac and was paid between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees, two sources familiar with the agreements have told Bloomberg.
Mitchell Delk, Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist, was Gingrich’s key contact. But Delk told Bloomberg that Gingrich — who was paid a monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000 between May 1999 until 2002 — “did not do any lobbying” and was instead provided counsel on public policy issues.
“I spent about three hours with him talking about the substance of the issues and the politics of the issues, and he really got it,” Delk told Bloomberg, adding that they discussed “what the benefits are to communities, what the benefits could be for Republicans and particularly their relationship with Hispanics.”
One of Gingrich’s ideas, according to Bloomberg, was for Freddie Mac to start a program with the Boy Scouts of America that would teach them the importance of saving money and maintaining good credit so they could buy a house down the line. Freddie Mac didn’t pursue it.
Gingrich contends that he warned Freddie Mac officials about the housing bubble and called their business model “insane.” That account is disputed by former officials with the mortgage giant.
Here’s a video of Newt explaining his role as “an historian” for Freddie Mac: