Final Report Due Today On Gingrich Ethics Case
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 16) -- With a final report on House Speaker Newt Gingrich's ethics case imminent, public hearings were expected to begin Friday afternoon and perhaps continue into the weekend.
The report, by special counsel James Cole, will clear the way for the hearings and possibly a vote to reprimand Gingrich, who has acknowledged giving the ethics panel inaccurate information in its probe of the tax-exempt financing of a college course that Gingrich taught.
Gingrich, en route to Washington, D.C., from his home in Georgia, told reporters before he left that he wants to work with Democrats on the nation's problems.
"I think people realize that ethics are important," Gingrich said. "I think you have to have the right investigations. You have to have the right process of policing the system. But it has to be seen as part of a larger system. It can't devour everything else. And we have had some good conversations with the president.
"I think we are going to get a lot done in this Congress and frankly, I've had very good reaction from an awful lot of Democrats in the House who've said they really want to work together to solve problems over the next two years," he added.
The House had been heading toward public hearings and a possible reprimand vote last week, but since then, the case has exploded with the controversy over the possibly illegal tape recording of an intercepted cellular telephone call between Gingrich and his GOP allies.
As part of his Dec. 21 deal with the ethics committee, Gingrich agreed not to orchestrate a GOP counterattack against the charges facing him. But in a telephone conversation taped that day, and subsequently obtained by The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the speaker is heard reacting favorably to just such a plan.
The FBI is investigating the taping and leak of the tape.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for House Minority Whip David Bonior (D-Mich.) denies the key component of a Washington Times story alleging that Bonior aides suggested there could be immunity in the case of the taped call.
"There was no discussion about immunity at all," said Gretchen Kline, Bonior's press secretary. She cited a release from Bonior's office last week which said Bonior was made aware of the tape by Rep. Karen Thurman (D-Fla.) and aides suggested it be turned over to relevant law enforcement agencies and the committee.
The North Florida couple, who taped the Republican leadership strategy conference call using a police scanner December 21st, are constituents of Thurman.
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