Skip to content

Newt Gingrich was a lobbyist, plain and simple

November 22, 2011
Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner
11/21/2011

When Newt Gingrich says he never lobbied, he’s not telling the truth.

When he was a paid consultant for the drug-industry’s lobby group, Gingrich worked hard to persuade Republican congressmen to vote for the Medicare drug subsidy that the industry favored. To deny Gingrich was a lobbyist requires an Obama-like word parsing over who is and who isn’t a lobbyist.

Gingrich stated last week on Fox News, “I do no lobbying of any kind. I never have. A very important point to make. I have never done lobbying of any kind.”

But the facts contradict that claim.

First of all, we know that Gingrich has been paid by drug companies and by the drug lobby, notably during the Medicare drug debate. A former employee of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, (the main industry lobby) told me Gingrich was being paid by someone in the industry at the time. A spokeswoman for Gingrich’s health care consulting firm, Center for Health Transformation, told me that drug companies have been CHT clients. PhRMA confirmed in a statement that they had paid Gingrich. Bloomberg News cited sources from leading drug companies Astra-Zeneca and Pfizer saying that those companies had also hired Gingrich.

So we know he was paid consultant for drug makers. That’s the first criterion for being a drug lobbyist.

Here’s the second criterion: While some consultants simply provide strategy or advice, Gingrich directly contacted lawmakers in an effort to win their votes.

Three former Republican congressional staffers told me that Gingrich was calling around Capitol Hill and visiting Republican congressmen in 2003 in an effort to convince conservatives to support a bill expanding Medicare to include prescription-drug subsidies. Conservatives were understandably wary about expanding a Lyndon Johnson-created entitlement that had historically blown way past official budget estimates. Drug makers, on the other hand, were positively giddy about securing a new pipeline of government cash to pad their already breathtaking profit margins.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: