The definition of a lobbyist is " a person who tries to influence legislators ". This is from the academic Foresman Advanced Dictionary that Gingrich would be familiar with at West Georgia.
After resigning from the Congress upon his fine and condemnation in 1998, Newt began a process of enriching himself by trading on his resume.........not the experience and contacts of a tenured history professor, but the 10 terms in Washington as a " tenured " Congressman. There are an almost limitless number of instances of personal benefit by trading access but lets speak of Newt's role withing the think tank he set up in 2003 called The Center for Health Transformation ( CHT ). This is a For Profit Consultancy with three levels of membership:
1. Charter Members ( 19 ) including:
Astra Zeneca, Blue Cross, Gallup , Glaxo Smith, United Healthcare
These premium members paid an annual dues of $ 200,000 and were promised
" ACCESS to Newt Gingrich on your company's strategy "
Note: The speaker is not noted as a business strategist, having never run a
business. What Gingrich does have is a congressional Rolodex of political
and legislative contacts of obvious value to these clients.
2. Platinum Members ( 7 ) including Barr Laboratories, Integris Health, etc.
These platinum members paid annual dues between $ 20,000 and $ 200,000 and were
promised " LIMITED Access to Newt Gingrich on your companies strategy"
3. Premium Members ( 35 ) including ALL medical companies . These members paid as little
as $ 20,000 annually, but, importantly , were promised no access to Newt Gingrich
So, we have an assortment of major companies paying significant annual fees to a FOR PROFIT company for access to:
a. One another
b. Newt Gingrich
It is important to point out that CHT states that " it does NOT provide lobbying services nor directly or indirectly participate in lobbying activities of any kind " That is NOT to say that such activities are not provided by Newt Gingrich. Certainly, a $ 55 million dollars in pharmaceutical industry " dues" to CHT was not paid for strategic advice from a history professor. let's see what Gingrich really did:
Gingrich arranged meetings between healthcare executives and government officials. I multiple presentations to lawmakers Gingrich constantly pitced the services and wares of CHT's clients . for example
In March of 2006, at a Health Transformation Summit in Tallahassee, after listening to a speech by CHT founder, Newt Gingrich, lawmakers got booklets promoting the services of two dozen of CHT's clients and client executives sat on panels with Florida lawmakers. Clearwave, paying CHT $ 50,000 pitched their medical data system
In March of 2004, Gingrich made a presentation to Georgia lawmakers promoting the goods and services of CHT's clients by citing benefits with comments like " Vita Spring could save the State Employee Program $ 20 million per year ."
Gingrich constantly arranged joint meetings with clients and lawmakers . He set up a meeting with top Federal officials so clients could present information on their electronic health records products. Gingrich subsequently reported that there was " very positive feedback overall from the meetings "
In addition to CHT, Gingrich had direct consulting contracts with clients. Millenium Plastics paid Gingrich $ 7500 per month plus stock options to " direct them to the right places and people in Washington "
Gingrich even lobbied directly with Congressmen for legislature. He pressed for passage of a Federal IT healthcare bill with co sponsors, Hillary Clinton and Patrick Kennedy, telling Fox News " we're launching a bill."
No matter your definition of lobbying.........Gingrich, the consummate insider, was and is a world class practitioner of this art of paid access. Gingrich said he wasn't pushing individual mandates in his interview with the Manchester Union Leader. This, as is the case with dozens of other Gingrich statements ....is just not true.
In a healthcare debate with Hillary Clinton in 2005, Gingrich called for a transfer of finances.
Gingrich said, on tape " Some aspect of the working poor has to involve a transfer of finances. To ask people in the lowest paying jobs to bear the full burden of their own health care is just irrational. Unless you have 100 % coverage, you can't have a rational health care system. We have no room in this society to have a free rider approach if you're well off economically. You shouldn't cheat your neighbor. If I see someone who's earning over $ 50,000 a year, who has made the calculated decision not to buy health insurance, I'm looking at someone who's absolutely irresponsible as anyone who is ever on welfare. Whatever the appropriate income is , you ought to have health insurance or post a bond .
Note: this language is IDENTICAL to the Massachusetts HealthCare rationale that Mitt Romney has been criticized repeatedly for......but Gingrich argued for its NATIONAL adoption.
So......what do we have. According to the dictionary , we have a highly paid lobbyist, trading access in Washington for millions of dollars in client fees and dues. We have an ethically challenged, life time politician who has become far more successful than any of his former colleagues , by doing exactly what sent Jack Abramoff to jail........only doing it better.
Now.........he wants to be President, and many conservatives agree with him
" Core beliefs" according to Joe McQuaid of the Union leader
Care to guess what he had in mind with Gingrich ???
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