Jack Abramoff, the former lobbyist, accused Newt Gingrich of corruption in an interview with David Gregory for the “Meet The Press” webshow “PRESS Pass.”
At about the 15-minute mark of the interview, Gregory asked Abramoff – who finished a jail stint over a year ago on influence-peddling charges and has been promoting his recently-published book – about the strategic counseling fee of over $1 million that was paid to Newt Gingrich by housing giant Freddie Mac.
“What do you make of all that?” Gregory asked.
Abramoff replied, “This is exactly what I’m talking about. People who come to Washington who have public service and they cash in on it. And they use their public service and their access to make money, and unfortunatley Newt Gingrich is one of them who have done it. But far too many of them do it and one of the reforms I propose in my book is to close permanently the door, the revolving door, betweeen public service and cashing in as a lobbyist.”
He added after another question, “I don’t know if he’ll survive this, to be honest with you, this is a very big thing.”
“Why?” Gregory asked.
“Because he is doing, and engaging in the exact kind of corruption that America disdains. The very things that anger the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement and everybody who is not in a movement and watches washington and says why are these guys getting all this money, why do they all become so rich, why do they have these advantages? Unfortunately Newt seems to play right into it.”
When Gregory pressed on the “corruption” language and noted it’s “a heavy charge,” Abramoff stayed with it, saying, “Yes it is. It is corruption. At the end of the day, I say in the book, I believe now, although I didn’t believe then unfortunatley, that any provision of favor or any provision of anything to members of Congress and their staff is bribery. And any cashing in on it by them coming out later is corruption.”
And he suggested that he’s, as Gregory put it, “cashing in” on his role as a former House Speaker.
“I know he says that they paid him as a historian to give him a historic lesson, but I’m unaware of any history professor being paid that sort of money to give someone a history lesson,” Abramoff said.