Nancy Pelosi told TPM’s Brian Beutler that she’s got tons of dirt on Newt Gingrich from her time on the House ethics panel investigating him, and hinted that some of it could come out if Gingrich continues his presidential surge.
Gingrich couldn’t be happier with the news.
“I would like to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift,” Gingrich told reporters in New York today. Gingrich said that if Pelosi does release information from the ethics committee, she’s risking ethics charges of her own.
“That’s a fundamental violation of the rules of the House and I would hope that members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it,” Gingrich said.
Back in 1997, Pelosi was a member of an ethics inquiry into Gingrich that eventually led to him paying a $300,000 fine levied by a vote of the whole House. The ethics committee was chaired by Republicans, then in the majority in the House, and the GOP-led House voted for the fine 395-28. Early in the process, Gingrich was accused of violating tax law, an investigation that the ethics panel left to the IRS. That organization cleared Gingrich of breaking the law years later.
At the press conference, Gingrich downplayed the fine from fellow House members.
“Eighty-three charges were repudiated, the one mistake we made was a letter written by a lawyer that i didn’t read carefully,” he said. “Every other charge was found false in the long run.”
Update: Pelosi’s office told Brian Beutler that Pelosi wasn’t talking about some secret cache of documents, but rather the ethics report from the 1990s that’s already available online.
“Leader Pelosi was clearly referring to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware,” Pelosi spokesperson Karina Newton said.