Newt On Trial For Lobbying


Hear ye! Hear ye! Court is  now in session.  Defendant will stand. (Newt Gingrich rises) Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth,  and nothing but the truth, so help you God?  (Gingrich replies in the affirmative) You are charged with being a lobbyist. How so do you plead? (Not guilty, Gingrich responds.)

Do you have legal counsel, Mr. Gingrich? Or will you require a public defender?  (Gingrich informs the court that he will represent himself.) The federal prosecutor proceeds to make the case against the accused.  This of course is an imaginary scenario, despite the strong resemblance of the prosecuting attorney to Mitt Romney.   But if we suspend our  disbelief, could Gingrich be found guilty as charged?

First of all, we must define the charge itself.  Not the 'crime' because, after all, it is technically legal---if you are registered--- to be a paid lobbyist.    Accordiing to, a lobbyist is ' an activist usually paid by an interest group to promote its  positions to the legislature. A lobbyist also works to change public opinion by influencing opinion leaders and pundits, thereby creating a climate for change that his or her employer desires.  Legislators who retire or fail to get reelected often become lobbyists and meet with former colleagues and tout positions they are paid to promote'.

Second, we must  present the facts that are  the gravamen, or basis, of the charge.  In 2003 Newt Gingrich founded CHT, the Center for Health Transformation, a think tank that " brings together private and public sector leaders to improve American health care." Gingrich stepped down as CEO  when he decided to make a run for president in 2012.  The self-proclaimed mission of CHT is "to create, advance, and improve public policies". It collects annual fees of $200,000 from its members: insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, employers, unions, health care  providers, and patient advocates.  $37 million piled into  its coffers in 2011. CHT's corporate profile trumpets that it  offers a bridge and link to goverment agencies and has a network of allies in the Federal and state governments.  A further incentive to become a CHT member is special access to Mr. Newt Gingrich.

During the deliberations in Congress  before the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug Act of 2003, Gingrich was hired by Astrazeneca and Pfizer to wheedle and cajole for support. PhRMA admits to his role.

Was Newt a lobbyist?  To paraphrase  Groucho Marx, Newt may have looked like a lobbyist, and talked like a lobbyist, but don't let him fool you.....he WAS a LOBBYIST!









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