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Newt Gingrich is the only politician on the Republican-side of the
aisle who can honestly say he does not have a single skeleton in
his political closet—
he has a whole graveyard of political secrets
he does not want to escape. Because when the parade of the past
begins to march, Newt's career on both Pennsylvania Avenue and
K Street will be over. Newt plays both ends against the middle, and
then hires himself out as a lobbyist for the middle.


On December 11, 2011 the Ron Paul Campaign released its latest political ad—a two-minute web video on a man he called the most corrupt Washington insider, who got rich through influence-peddling. But, Ron Paul who knows the worst about Newt Gingrich did not expose it here. Maybe he's waiting until the former Speaker gets a litle deeper in the Campaign of 2012. When Newt began his political career in 1978, he earned a grand sum of $10,000. When he became Speaker in 1994, he make $675,000; and, when he resigned from Congress in 1998 after the House membership rejected him as a candidate for the Speakership, his income had soared to new heights—$7,500,000. In addition to the $7.5 million, Newt also left Congress with 84 ethics violations.

Now, I don't care how well you manage your money. If you are honest and do only honest things with your money, not even Houdini (or Charles Ponzi) could turn $10,000 into $7.5 million in 20 years. (At least, not in today's world. Before 15 tons of federal codes, a rags to riches entreprenuer could start with not much more than two pennies to rub gogether and end up rich. But not today. Today, to get that rich in two decades, you just gotta be a crook; or, you're in bed with a whole gaggle of crooks who are all goosing the gander—which, by association, makes you a crook.

While this writer can't tell you how Gingrich turned $10,000 into $7.5 million, I can tell you why the GOP turned on Newt in 1998. And, like I said earlier, so should Ron Paul.

When the Hillary Clinton Health Security Act (the 1993 clone of Obamacare) went down in defeat, some members of Congress—on both sides of the aisle—attempted to insert a National Identity Card into the Immigration Reform Act of 1996.

According to Allen Kay, the then press secretary for Congressman Lamar Smith [R-TX] in a telephone interview with me on Jan. 17, 1997, an "effort" was made on three occasions during the floor debate on HR 220 to initiate what Smith's office called a "National Identity Card dialogue."

The Republican majority and Smith—who drafted the legislation that would become Public Law 104-208—Kay said, saw no need for such an extreme measure and successfully thwarted efforts to introduce the dialogue in the immigration debate. "Congressman Smith," Kay reiterated, "as well as most members of Congress, saw no need for a National Identity Card. Because they did not believe a National ID Card would solve the problems addressed in HR 220, they were not prepared to discuss it." One question came to mind as Kay spoke: if no one—particularly Lamar Smith—saw a need for it, why did Smith draft the measure?

The provision to allow the creation of an internal passport in the United States was quietly voted on and passed in the Senate version of the bill before it went to joint conference where the differences between the House and Senate bills are supposed to be ironed out, and everything without the consensus of a majority both chambers of Congress is stripped from the final version of the bill before it is sent to the White House to be signed into law. In theory, that is.

According to Congressman Bob Barr [R-GA] when the National ID Card surfaced in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations in 1998, no notice of the provision's inclusion in Public Law 104-208 was ever sent to the House. Nor was there a Senate floor debate on the subject. As the bureaucrats learned from the House debate, talking about an internal passport disguised as a benign National ID Card that was supposed to keep illegals from taking the jobs of US citizens, was tantamount to killing it.

Do you remember the 1995-96 budget battle when the GOP shut down the federal government in order to force the Democrats to live within their means? Everyone does. It was good media. To bad everyone was paying attention to the talking heads and no one was watching the legislative shell game taking place in the House under the watchful eye of Speaker Gingrich [R-GA], Minority Leader Dick Gephart [D-MO], Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole [R-KS] and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle [D-SD]. The same sleight-of-hand that inserted half-of-a-bill into the Immigration Reform Act of 1996 was used to inserted the same half-a-bill in the House version of the Omnibus Budget Act of 1996. When the House voted on the Budget Bill, it appears they also voted on, and passed, the National ID Card that could now be implemented by the NHTSA sometime down the road..

According to Barr, who appeared as a guest on a Paul Weyrich's America's Voice segment hosted by Coalition for Constitutional Liberties Director Lisa Dean on July 13, 1998 to talk about the new national drivers' license being implemented by the NHTSA. Gingrich's internal passport had been innocuously disguised as a drivers' license. But as everyone knows, when it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Barr told Lisa Dean "...this bill (the Omnibus Budget Bill) was several thousand pages long [and] was not distributed to House members before the vote. The only chance any of us might have had to have seen this bill was while it was sitting on the floor during the debate—but there was no debate on it. No chance for review. It was slipped in as a mickey and was enacted into law because it was part of a very important omnibus spending bill."

Barr then told Dean that he and Congressmen Ron Paul [R-TX] and Mac Collins [R-GA] were introducing legislation to abolish the provision in law that gives the NHTSA authority to create a national identity card. Or, for that matter, any system that would allow the federal government or any of its agencies, the right to implement such a card by prohibiting the funding of such projects in the future. Of course, as history has repeatedly confirmed, its hard to milk the cow after its left the barn.

Funding this infringement on States' rights by the NHTSA was not viewed by the federal bureaucracy as a problem since the costs for upgrading drivers' licenses falls on the States. And, although Congress passed the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-4) to prevent the federal government from forcing the States to foot the bill for costly bureaucratic federal programs and regulations when the cost to the States to comply exceeds $100 million (collectively). The NHTSA did another sleight-of-hand and projected the cost of standardizing drivers' licenses nationwide at only $72 million. NHTSA documents show the government made their projections based on the average cost to implement the program in 5 sparsely populated States. In reality, the cost to implement the program in California, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Texas alone would be almost double their estimate—well over $200 million.

In an Open Letter to Congress on July 15, 1998, Dean said, "...This plan pushes us to the brink of tyranny, where citizens will not be allowed to travel, open bank accounts, obtain health care, get a job or purchase firearms without first presenting the proper government papers. The authorizing section of the law and subsequent NHTSA proposal is reminiscent of the totalitarian dictates of the Politburo members of the former Soviet Union, not the Congress of the United States of America."

Congressman Barr said as much himself. "This is not some theoretical exercise. This is a very real, very serious problem with practical ramifications for every citizen in our country, ranging from everything from gun control to bank accounts to government [control] over travel to seeing a doctor or enrolling child in school. Once this program goes into effect, if we allow it to, then the government will be able to not only track everything that an American citizen does, but they will be able to stop citizens from doing certain things—if we don't do something very quick. We will be faced with a government that is all-powerful, and an executive branch that can override either of the two branches of government at will."

Impressed with Bob Barr's stance, Paul Weyrich and Dean scheduled a meeting with Barr at his office on Tuesday, July 28, 1998 to see how the Free Congress Foundation could help Barr kill the funding for the government's all-purpose internal passport. Barr's opening remark stunned them. "At the moment," he told them, "there isn't anything I can do about killing the funding to implement the national ID card." He added that he was backing off as a favor to Lamar Smith. Barr said Smith did not view the national drivers' license as a threat, and wanted to give it a chance.

Within a day or two, something happened to change his mind. Barr and Dr. Paul introduced the legislation to defund the national drivers' license and suspend it in bureaucratic limbo, but they unable to kill the measure outright. Once introduced, the Barr-Paul bill was shelved by the Speaker. It was not going to even get on the floor for a debate. Soon every American would be carrying a drivers' license that would be their passport to ask permission to cross a state line, transact business or rent a home. Barr hit the talk show circuit.

People began asking questions about the new national drivers' license. On August 4, 1998, more to appease Barr than to accomplish anything, a hearing was held in the office of the Transportation Subcommittee. Barr, Dr. Paul, Smith and several Congressional staffers attended. Barr requested that the "comment period" on the legislation be reopened. That is, of course, like discussing the changes you would like to make in the script of a movie you just watched.

Barr requested that "interested parties" be allowed to reconsider the NHTSA's proposal and suggest changes, adding that "...I don't think Americans are interested in giving the federal government unprecedented power to track and identify them. Hopefully, these hearings will be the beginning of the end of efforts to create a national identification system." Barr quickly learned it wasn't going to be that easy. Barr and Ron Paul hit the talk show circuit. Smith—the shill for the leadership—and Gingrich and Gephart al denied knowing about the language that was creating an internal passport, doggedly pushed House Appropriations and Transportation Subcommittee chairman Frank Wolf [R-VA] to derail Barr's attempt to derail the national drivers' license.

On Tuesday, October 6, 1998 Gingrich agreed to eliminate Barr's provision from the Transportation Bill. After an overnight battle, Barr won a temporary victory—support from several other House members led by Majority Whip Tom Delay who met with Gingrich to demand why Smith and Gingrich were zealously pushing for something the American people vehemently opposed. Delay told Gingrich that, beginning the following morning, he would be on every talk show in America, and any chance that Gingrich had of being reelected would die. Fearful of voter backlash, Gingrich was forced to cave. Barr's measure to defund the national drivers' license was enacted.

During that midnight battle, on Tuesday October 6, Gingrich showed himself to be one of the most dangerous politicians in Washington, DC. Suffering from a stinging rebuke from his own party after the GOP lost five House seats in the election held on Nov. 4, 1998, Gingrich announced on Nov. 5—one day after winning reelection to his 11th term—that he would not only stand down from seeking reelection as Speaker, he would resign from the House of Representatives as well.

Newt Gingrich is even more dangerous today. When he left office, Gingrich formed a political consulting group called The Gingrich Group. As he campaigns for the White House, Gingrich insists he was not a lobbyist. He is wholly a product of Washington. And, by definition, he is and was, a lobbyist since 1999. Federal law defines lobbying as "...contacts and any efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation or planning activities, research and other background work that is intended, at the time of its preparation, for use in contacts and coordination with the lobbying activities of others." Further, a lobbying contract is "...any oral, written or electronic communication to a covered official that is made on behalf of a client with regard to congressmen and senators, among others."

Those words describe Gingrich's activity from the time he left office. For example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hired Gingrich to "...build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company's public-private structure that would resonate with conservatves seeking to dismantle it." Depending on who's reporting it,. Gingrich received somewhere between $1.5 and $1.8 million for consulting work done for Fannie and Freddie. He originally claimed he only received $300 thousand for work done for them. Since leaving Congress, industry clients shelled out $35 million to The Gingrich Group. What did they get in return? According to Gingrich, just a tutorial on American history. Gingrich reiterated that he "...[does] no lobbying of any kind. I never had."

For Fannie and Freddie he advised them on the War of 1812 which, as you know, is critical information to have when you are guaranteeing home loans—and are trying simultaneously to win over Republicans who want to dismantle your organization. Nah, you gotta believe Newt. He wouldn't lie. He isn't a lobbyist. He's just a retired good ol' boy from Georgia making a few bucks when and where he can.

 

 

Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
All rights reserved
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