January 22, 2017
Newt Gingrich sideline
Sapiens - A consulting company owned by Newt Gingrich, a regular from the Trump campaign trail and an apparent adviser to the transition team, earned more than $1.6 million from Freddie Mac, a government-backed home mortgage and loan company, in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis. Gingrich denied direct lobbying (at one point arguing he was merely a “historian” for Freddie Mac), but his firm “reported directly to Freddie Mac’s public policy and lobbying office,” according to one account. This one-step-removed arrangement is now commonplace and enables shadow lobbyists plausible deniability. Gingrich also denied lobbying for ethanol interests, so it raised eyebrows when industry IRS filings revealed he took in more than $300,000 from that industry in 2009. He also founded a so-called think tank, the Center for Health Transformation, to promote the policy desires of its health industry sponsors. Gingrich is now making money from his association with Trump, reportedly increasing his speaking fee by $15,000 because of his close ties to the president-elect.