Newt Gingrich made upwards of $1.8 million for the consulting services he provided to Freddie Mac, according to a Businessweek report. The report further suggests that, during the time he advised Freddie Mac, the former House Speaker was less critical of the company's risky lending model than Gingrich has so far implied.
During a Republican presidential debate last week, Gingrich was asked about a $300,000 contract that his firm had with Freddie Mac in 2006. Gingrich said he advised the company against a policy of lending to high-risk, low-credit borrowers. The next day, his campaign issued a statement emphasizing that Gingrich had not lobbied for Freddie Mac. The statement also explained that Gingrich consulted Freddie Mac about ways to lower its healthcare costs, among other matters.
However, the Businessweek report states that Gingrich received two contracts valued at between $1.6 million and $1.8 million, which is a larger amount than was disclosed during a congressional investigation into the housing crisis. The first contract was in 1999 and included a self-renewing monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000. That lasted from May 1999 to 2002, during which time Gingrich reportedly ‘consulted with Freddie Mac executives on a program to expand homeownership.’
The second contract, which Gingrich referred to during the debate, was a two-year retainer totaling $600,000, Reuters says. According to unnamed former Freddie Mac officials sourced by Businessweek, Gingrich never expressed concern about Freddie Mac's business model, as he suggested he had during the debate.
A Gingrich spokesperson told Businessweek the campaign disputes the sources' account.