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Gingrich contract with Freddie Mac leaves questions unanswered

The consulting firm founded by Newt Gingrich on Monday night released a copy of its 2006 contract with Freddie Mac showing it was paid $300,000 to provide unspecified "consulting and related services" for one of the federally sponsored housing agency's top lobbyists.

The contract between the Center for Health Transformation, an arm of the Gingrich Group, and Freddie Mac shows that Gingrich reported directly to  to Craig Thomas, who at the time served as the agency’s director of public policy and was one of its registered lobbyists on Capitol Hill. 

But a spokeswoman for the firm said it was unable to find an earlier contract dating to 1999 and renewed until 2002. The spokeswoman, Susan Meyers, also could not say whether Gingrich or any of its employees produced any written reports for Freddie Mac as part of the nearly $1.8 million in consulting fees it was paid.  

"I have no idea if there were any written reports," she said. "This is all we are authorized to release."


The 15-page contract, signed with a Gingrich Group executive, sheds little light on what Gingrich actually did for Freddie Mac -- a question that has become an issue in the presidential campaign. It states only that the Gingrich Group will that provide unspecified consulting services for Thomas.

 

One of the provisions states that consulting "will provide status reports" to Freddie Mac on its work and supply it with copies "of any disclosures or reports it may be required to file by law, such as reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act."

Gingrich, who originally said he provided advice "as a historian," has adamantly denied he did any lobbying for Freddie Mac, an assertion repeated by Nancy Desmond, the CEO of the Center for Health Transformation.

“As noted under the scope of work section on Page 14, the contract was solely for consulting purposes and not lobbying," she said in a statement posted along with the contract on the group's website.

According to Meyers, the firm originally signed a contract with Freddie Mac in late 1999 for the same  $25,000 a month, which  was renewed until 2002. The firm was unable to locate that document and the renewals, she said. After lapsing, the Freddie Mac consulting agreement was signed again in 2006 and was renewed in 2007.

All Freddie Mac reports are now controlled by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The agency did not respond to requests for comment Monday. It recently rejected a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, for any and all records that Freddie Mac may have had on the Gingrich Group, stating in a Dec. 6, 2011 letter: "A search of FHFA records located no documents responsive to your request."