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Report: Gingrich Gave Donors Special Access


ATLANTA (AllPolitics, March 6) -- He gave donors special access and opportunities to help shape national policy. Bill Clinton? Well, maybe, but also Newt Gingrich, according to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The paper examined records of the House speaker's fund-raising strategies from the early 1990s, and found that Gingrich, then waging his crusade to put Republicans in the majority, routinely offered private meetings and opportunities to weigh in on legislation to those making contributions to GOPAC, Gingrich's political action committee.

"Charter members contribute $10,000 per year and many ... are activists," Gingrich wrote to a potential donor. GOPAC Chairman Howard "Bo" Callaway "and I work closely with our members and, in effect, have drafted people to help us deal with political, administrative and government policy issues," Gingrich continued.

Some contributors were invited to meet President George Bush in the Old Executive Office Building, as well.

Ellen Miller of campaign reform group Public Campaign says this is more evidence the flap over Democratic fund-raising extends to the GOP. "All the perks and special access granted by the speaker to his big donors rival in every dimension what the president did for DNC contributors," she told The Associated Press.

Gingrich spokesperson Christina Martin disagreed. "Newt Gingrich obeyed the law," she told the AP. "Newt Gingrich did not make phone calls from his office. Newt Gingrich did not take foreign contributions. Newt Gingrich did not auction off the Lincoln Bedroom," she said.

After being reprimanded by the House in January over a well-publicized ethics violation, Gingrich has laid low recently, though Wednesday he called Democratic fund-raising a "systematic, large-scale effort to get around the law."

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