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CREW Files FOIA Requests for Gingrich Ethics Investigation Records
WASHINGTON - January 25 - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting documents turned over by the House Ethics Committee in regard to its investigation of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA). The committee inquiry centered on Mr. Gingrich’s use of tax-exempt organizations for political purposes and he was ultimately sanctioned for making false statements to Congress.
“A self-styled historian, Mr. Gingrich’s true talent lies in revising history. Contrary to what he tells voters now, his ethical transgressions were quite serious,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “We agree with presidential hopeful Mitt Romney: the American public deserves to learn the details of the committee’s investigation. We should have the chance to judge for ourselves whether the failure of the IRS and DOJ to take action was reasonable given the evidence the committee provided.”
CREW is seeking records provided to the IRS and likely the Criminal Division of the DOJ between 1996 and 1997 by the House Ethics Committee relating to its investigation of Mr. Gingrich’s use of charitable organizations to underwrite political activities. The investigation expanded to include false statements that Mr. Gingrich made before the committee. As a result of the committee’s inquiry, Mr. Gingrich was fined $300,000 for making 13 false statements.
In addition, the committee concluded a course taught by Mr. Gingrich was funded by tax-exempt groups in violation of laws prohibiting political activity. Nevertheless, the IRS cleared the Progress and Freedom Foundation of any wrongdoing and DOJ took no action.
“For too long, crooked politicians have had little to fear from federal law enforcement,” said Ms. Sloan. “Mr. Gingrich is about as forthcoming about the ethics investigation as he is about his lobbying activities so it is incumbent on these agencies to release these records as quickly as possible, allowing Americans to judge the matter for themselves.”