Newt Gingrich's Skeleton Closet
Callista Bisek. Anne Manning. The unnamed "young volunteer". Are we missing anyone?
"We would have won in 1974 if we could have kept him out of the office, screwing her [a young volunteer] on the desk." - Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler at the time
[In the book] "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them", [I] "found frightening pieces that related to my own life." - Newt.
"I think you can write a psychological profile of me that says I found a way to immerse my insecurities in a cause large enough to justify whatever I wanted it to" - Newt, speaking to Gail Sheehy.
"She isn't young enough or pretty enough to be the President's wife." - Newt, on his first wife.
"I don't want him to be president and I don't think he should be." - Newt's wife Marianne.
"If the country today were to move to the left, Newt would sense it before it started happening and lead the way." - Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler throughout the 1970s.
Sex on the Desk - Oral Sex is More Easily Denied Several newspapers are now reporting that Newt Gingrich is dating and basically living with Callista Bisek, a "willowy blond Congressional aide 23 years his junior." Biske, 33, has been spending nights at Gingrich's apartment near the Capitol and has her own key. In an amazing act of hypocrisy, Gingrich was apparently dating Bisek all during Clinton-Lewinsky adultery scandal, even as he proclaimed family values and bitterly criticized the President for his adultery.
Reporters and other Washington insiders have known about this relationship since 1994, even before Gingrich became Speaker of the House, but did not have any solid proof to report. In 1995, Vanity Fair magazine described Bisek as Gingrich's "frequent breakfast companion." Gingrich was married to Marianne Gingrich during all of that time, and just filed for divorce in August 1999.
Newt is apparently trying to create a new hybrid form, Christian adultery. According to MSNBC, Bisek sings in the National Shrine Choir, and Newt would often wait for her at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, listening to her sing while he read the Bible.
This is hardly the first time Newt has cheated, either. "It was common knowledge that Newt was involved with other women during his [first] marriage to Jackie. Maybe not on the level of John Kennedy. But he had girlfriends -- some serious, some trivial." -- Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler throughout the 70s. One woman, Anne Manning, has come forward and confirmed a relationship with him during the 1976 campaign. "We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'"
Kip Carter, his former campaign treasurer, was walking Newt's daughters back from a football game one day and cut across a driveway where he saw a car. "As I got to the car, I saw Newt in the passenger seat and one of the guys' wives with her head in his lap going up and down. Newt kind of turned and gave me this little-boy smile. Fortunately, Jackie Sue and Kathy were a lot younger and shorter then."
"He walked out in the spring of 1980.... By September, I went into the hospital for my third surgery. The two girls came to see me, and said, "Daddy is downstairs. Could he come up?" When he got there, he wanted to discuss the terms of the divorce while I was recovering from my surgery." - Jackie, his first wife.
Does Newt have some kind of problem with women? He has said that he read a book called "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them", and "found frightening pieces that related to my own life."
Incidentally, Marianne told Gail Sheehy she doesn't want Newt to run for President. " I told him if I'm not in agreement, fine, it's easy. I just go on the air the next day, and I undermine everything. ... I don't want him to be president and I don't think he should be." Newt's response? Marianne "was just making the point hypothetically" that he would not run unless she agreed he should.
Remember the House Banking scandal, where so many congressmen wrote rubber checks on government money? Newt hopes you don't, because he bounced 22 himself, which almost cost him reelection in 1992. His vote for the secret House pay raise, and the chauffeur who drove him around Washington in a Lincoln Town Car, didn't help.
In the past, Harper Collins has offered million dollar book contracts to several conservative politicians in countries where Murdoch was having regulatory trouble, including England (Margaret Thatcher, Jeffrey Archer) and China (Deng Xiaoping's daughter). A week after the initial offer, Newt met with Rupert Murdoch - and Murdoch's legislative lobbyist - to discuss politics, including the NBC complaint. As facts about the deal were made public, and even Republicans criticized him, Gingrich decided to give up the $4.5 million advance for a still-lucrative deal based on royalties.
Gingrich's story kept changing through the controversy. First, Newt's spokesman said that Murdoch knew nothing about Gingrich and the book deal. On Friday January 13, Newt's spokesman admitted that Murdoch actually met Newt on a park bench the week before the deal was made, but didn't talk about it. He also said he knew nothing about Murdoch's lobbyist being at their meeting. The next day, he admitted the lobbyist was there, but claimed he didn't say so because no one asked.
Newt also said repeatedly that the book wasn't his idea; that a literary agent named Lynn Chu had sought him out and proposed it. After Ms. Chu said that Gingrich's associate Jeff Eisenach called her first on Newt's behalf, Eisenach and Newt's spokesman admitted that was true.
The 1984 Book Deal Murdoch's book deal wasn't the first lucrative and controversial book deal Newt engineered. In 1983 he established a limited partnership in Atlanta called COS Limited, which pulled together about two dozen of his biggest campaign contributors to finance his book.
The former administrator of his congressional offices in Georgia, Dolores Adamson, resigned over the deal. "The manuscript was put together in the district office using office equipment," she said. "He would just come in and say 'This is what I want to do.' I would say, 'This is not ethical," but after a while he didn't listen." That office equipment, of course, was paid for by US taxpayers including you.
GOPAC, Newt's longtime political action committee, was the centerpiece of a complex network of non-profit, and mostly tax exempt organizations that Newt has used to support himself and other conservative candidates. In an act of incredible hypocrisy, this crusader against taxes obtained taxpayer subsidies for his personal and political goals, by misusuing these tax-exempt groups.
For example, one GOPAC document said that its goal for the 1990s was "to both create and disseminate the doctrine of a majority Republican party." In another GOPAC document, titled "Key Factors in a House GOP Majority," Gingrich wrote "It is more powerful and more effective to develop a reform movement parallel to the official Republican party", instead of using the party structure, because it would get more attention and be more credible. Shortly thereafter, GOPAC paid for a television program promoting a "grassroots" movement to reform government; publicly they claimed it was nonpartisan, but private internal documents made its partisan goals clear.
After it got expensive, Gingrich transferred the program to the "Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation," a tax-exempt group controlled by a GOPAC official named Bo Callaway. It had been set up years earlier to help inner city kids, which is why it was tax exempt. The group spent $260,000 on the television program in 1990. That same year, Newt started another tax-exempt group that paid poor students for reading books. He bragged of this in many a political speech. But after the first two years, most of this foundation's money went to Mel Steely, a former Gingrich aide who is now Newt's official biographer.
The best known effort was a college course (titled "Renewing American Civilization") at a third-rate college that Gingrich nakedly used to recruit and organize conservative candidates, and to feed them his carefully constructed ideology and political slogans.
Of course, using tax-exempt educational or charitable donations for partisan purposes is illegal, and several ethics complaints were filed against Gingrich. He agreed to pay a $300,000 fine for misleading the committee during the investigation, and in the process dodged conviction on the actual charges through a combination of finessing some legal definitions, sheer self-confidence and raw political power (as Speaker of the House at the time of the complaints, he appointed the ethics committee. Furthermore, GOPAC had one ethics committee member on its roster last session, and gave money to another.)
The Ethics Committee dropped its final charges against Gingrich not long before he resigned as speaker, despite finding that Gingrich had in fact violated one rule by repeatedly using a political consultant paid by GOPAC to develop the Republican political agenda, because there was no evidence he was continuing to do so.
The IRS also started an investigation of one group, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, for violating its tax-exempt status by donating to Gingrich's college course. In the investigation, the special counsel found that these activities were "substantially motivated by partisan political goals." The IRS eventually overruled him, and found that the course "was educational and never favored or opposed a candidate for public office.'' It said the foundation ``did not intervene on behalf of candidates of the Republican Party merely by promoting'' themes in the course. This extremely narrow reading of the law basically said "so what if he used the course to recruit, organize and groom candidates; as long as they didn't say 'Vote for Jones', it wasn't partisan." Despite what Gingrich fans argue, this hardly proves his innocence. The IRS has chickened out before in political cases, notably letting the Church of Scientology completely off the hook in its investigation of that group.
- Rupert Murdoch (see book deal above)
- Georgia's Richards family, owners of Southwire Corporate ($1.3 billion/year)
The Richards lent and donated money and office space to Gingrich from his earliest days in politics. They have given over $100,000, and Gingrich was the first recipient of donations from Southwire's PAC. By coincidence, Gingrich has changed from an environmentalist critic of Southwire to a staunch anti-environmentalist during that time. People with ties to Southwire were instrumental in two earlier lucrative book deals of Gingrich's in 1977 and 1984; the latter was investigated for ethical violations.
"Newt Plays House With New Squeeze," by Timothy Burger and Owen Moritz, NY Daily News, August 12, 1999
"Newt's Fooling Around With His Girl On the Hill," by Andy Soltis, New York Post, August 12, 1999
"The Big One That Got Away," by David Corn, Salon Website, August 12, 1998
adulterous choir practice: "Personals", by Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 1999 pE12
"Gingrich Won't Answer Woman's Adultery Story," Missoula (Montana) Missoulian, August 16, 1995page 1
"Tales About Gingrich make field level", Idaho Spokesman Review, August 16, 1995 pB6
"Gingrich Aided Export Firm That Employed His Wife", NY Times News Service, San Francisco Chronicle, February 7, 1995 pA7
"Gingrich, Critic of 'Business as Usual,' Helps Out Special Interests Like 'Any Member of Congress'", Phil Kuntz, Wall Street Journal, April 3, 1995 pA16
"Gingrich's political education", Jeff Gerth and Stephen Labaton (NY Times News Service), San Francisco Examiner, February 12, 1995 pA6
"IRS clears Gingrich donation that led to his House censure", Capitol Hill Blue Website, February 4, 1999 [bad link, defunct...CV]
Ethics Committee Drops Last of 84 Charges Against Gingrich ,By Curt Anderson (Associated Press), Washington Post, October 11, 1998, Page A13
"Use of Tax-Exempt Groups Integral to Political Strategy", by Charles R. Babcock, Washington Post, January 7, 1997, Page A01
"Jump-Start: How Speaker Gingrich Grabbed Power and Attention So Quickly", Wall Street Journal, January 19, 1995 pA1
"The Inner Quest of Newt Gingrich", Gail Sheehy, Vanity Fair, September 1995 p147 "Gingrich, Murdoch reveal lobbyist's role at meeting", Katharine Seelye (NY Times News Service), San Francisco Examiner, pA1 "Murdoch, Gingrich Admit They Talked", San Francisco Chronicle, January 13, 1995
"The Mysterious Mrs. Newt", Martin Fletcher (London Times News Service), SF Examiner, January 15, 1995 pA4 "Newt's Near Misses", Ron Curran, The Bay Guardian, January 11, 1995 p10
"Newt, Inc.", Dennis Bernstein, Bay Guardian, February 1, 1995 p19
BACK TO SKELETON CLOSET
Paid for by Real People For Real Change and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.