Newt Gingrich (R)

Had affair during Lewinsky scandal

It's hard to imagine a more striking case of hypocrisy: in 1999, while the House he led was preparing to impeach Bill Clinton for his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, Newt Gingrich was carrying on his own extramarital affair with the Congressional staffer Callista Bisek. Gingrich admitted as much during an interview in March with the conservative group Focus on the Family: "The honest answer is yes," he said. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."

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Ethical nightmare as Speaker

All in all, eighty-four different ethics charged were filed against Gingrich during his tenure as speaker of the house. He wound up paying a whopping $300,000 fine to settle the gravest of the charges: that he used tax-deductible political donations to fund to college courses he was teaching. Worse, during the ethics investigation, he gave inaccurate information to the Ethics Committee on two separate occasions. Time magazine had the story in April of 1997:

[O]n Dec. 6, 1995, the ethics committee agreed to appoint an outside counsel to investigate whether two college courses Gingrich taught, which he financed with tax deductible donations, had been used to further the partisan goals of GOPAC, a political action committee founded by Gingrich. Not to worry, the speaker told supporters -- the issue was simply a "technical" matter. But some 12 months later, that so-called technicality had him in hot water. . . . Gingrich was warned by attorneys as long ago as 1990 not to use tax exempt funds to finance his course.

Many viewed Gingrich's false statements to the ethics committee as his most serious problem. Two letters he provided to the ethics committee, dated Dec. 8, 1994, and March 27, 1995, respectively, denied GOPAC was connected with his college teaching. That's untrue. . . .   Was it an inadvertent accident or a knowing lie?

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Called Spanish a "ghetto" language

In early April, Gingrich railed against bilingual education in shocking terms: he said that it taught "the language of living in the ghetto." The AP had the story:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich equated bilingual education Saturday with "the language of living in a ghetto" and mocked requirements that ballots be printed in multiple languages.

"The government should quit mandating that various documents be printed in any one of 700 languages depending on who randomly shows up" to vote, said Gingrich, who is considering seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He made the comments in a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women.

"The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. ... We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto," Gingrich said to cheers from the crowd of more than 100.

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Would scuttle 1st Amendment to fight terror?

At an award dinner last November, Gingrich delivered some chilling remarks that implied he thought free speech might have to be curtailed in order to fight terrorists. The Manchester Union-Leader had the story on 11/29/06:

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday in Manchester said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.

Gingrich said, moreover, that "We now should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision that we would never dream of if it weren't for the scale of the threat."

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