Matt Rourke, Associated Press
NAPLES, Fla. — GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich began receiving payments from Freddie Mac in 1999 under a contract that paid his consulting business $25,000 a month to work with the mortgage giant's chief lobbyist, according to a second agreement released Tuesday night.
The contract specifically excluded lobbying services, stating "nothing herein is or shall be construed as an agreement to provide lobbying services of any kind or engage in lobbying activities."
The Center for Health Transformation, founded by Gingrich, provided the second contract a day after releasing a 2006 agreement for Gingrich's services. The two contracts paid Gingrich's consulting business just over $1.6 million and required Gingrich to report to Freddie Mac's lobbying office.
The 1999 contract was renewed through 2002, and the 2006 contract was renewed for one year in 2007, said Susan Meyers, a spokeswoman for the Center for Health Transformation.
Gingrich's work with Freddie Mac has received renewed scrutiny as GOP rival Mitt Romney has criticized the arrangements as influence peddling by the former House speaker. Gingrich has blasted Romney, saying he has mischaracterized his work in a desperate attempt to regain momentum in the Republican presidential race.
Romney has pressed Gingrich to release details of his work for Freddie Mac, including any work product or reports completed for the company that would show exactly what type of services he provided. Gingrich urged the consulting company he left last year to release the contracts, but no other materials have been released.
The second contract released Tuesday night provides more detail on the work Gingrich was hired to perform, including "serve as advisor to Freddie Mac in the areas of strategic planning and public policy." It also called on Gingrich, who is mentioned by name in the second contract, to "engage in discussions" with Freddie Mac's chief lobbyist and senior officers "to strategize on approaches to Freddie Mac business opportunities and challenges."
Gingrich also was expected to "contribute to Freddie Mac corporate planning and business goals" and to "meet with major stakeholders of Freddie Mac."
The contract also states that "neither The Gingrich Group nor Newt Gingrich will provide lobbying services of any kind nor participate in lobbying activities on Freddie Mac's behalf."
Other terms of the contract are similar to the first provided by the Center for Health Transformation, which was created by Gingrich in 2003 to focus on health-care issues. Gingrich left the center, formed as a part of his Gingrich Group consulting business, last year before announcing his candidacy for president.
Blackledge reported from Washington.
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