Newt Gingrich reacted to Nancy Pelosi’s reminder to America that he was slapped with a $300,000 ethics violation by the House in the 1990s about as you’d expect: he accused Pelosi of violating ethics rules herself, and threatened to bring her up on charges.
Pelosi responded to that by sending TPM a link to the publicly-available cache of files on the Gingrich ethics case and informing Gingrich that she doesn’t need to breach the confidentiality of the ethics committee chamber to embarrass him.
“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,” a spokesperson for Pelosi said.
In a story published Monday, Pelosi told TPM’s Brian Beutler that her experience on the ethics panel had made her something of an expert on potential Gingrich opposition research.
“One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich,” Pelosi told Beutler. “I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”
A thick file full of what Pelosi is talking about can be found here, where its been in the public record for years.
Democrats are signaling they’re ready to turn their attention away from Mitt Romney and onto Gingrich, and stuff like the ethics report could be a major part of that. The report was written after then-Speaker Gingrich was investigated by his own GOP majority on 84 counts of ethics violations. The committee found Gingrich guilty of one of those counts and the full GOP-controlled House voted overwhelmingly to fine him $300,000. Some of the violations were sent to the IRS for investigation and Gingrich was eventually cleared of those charges.
Much of the coverage of Peolsi’s quote to TPM Monday suggested Pelosi was referring to a secret cache of documents that she’d bring out when the time was right. Instead, the Democratic leader of the House was suggesting Google search terms. In New York today, Gingrich held a press conference where he attacked Pelosi for her quote, and threatened her with 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.
I regard it as a useful education of the American people to see the tainted, political ethics operation Nancy Pelosi was engaged in and I would hope that the House would immediately condemn her if she uses any material that was gathered when she was on the ethics committee.
Gingrich called Pelosi’s quote “an early Christmas present.” He may regret those words now that everyone’s talking once again about one of the more embarrassing chapters from his political career.