Roll Call: Political family ties exploited

I’m excited to be physically back in the newsroom with our lobbying and investigations team. I wrapped up the year with this piece on Newt Gingrich and a job his then-wife held that could pose a conflict of interest:

As Newt Gingrich was rising in the House Republican ranks, his then-wife, Marianne, was hired by a former employer to extract grant money from the Economic Development Administration, a federal agency President Ronald Reagan sought to eliminate and that her husband oversaw from his seat on the House Public Works and Transportation Committee.

Marianne Gingrich’s background in urban planning and her influence as a Congressman’s wife helped her lay the groundwork in 1988 and 1989 for several federal grants still benefiting the development group based in her Ohio hometown.

Newt Gingrich’s financial disclosure reports for those years show that GOPAC, his political organization, also paid for the couple to visit Youngstown, Ohio, where the Eastgate Development and Transportation Agency was based. Employees there recall seeing the Gingriches around the office, but Roll Call could not confirm whether Marianne Gingrich used the GOPAC-funded trips to visit her employer.

While Marianne Gingrich’s lobbying work would not violate House rules even today, it highlights a familial loophole that groups continue to exploit for political gain.

Read more at Roll Call.

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