Gingrich reveals income, but not how he earned it

By Brett J. Blackledge

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 26 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

To make its case that Gingrich was lobbying, Sloan's group cites the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which defines a lobbyist as someone who receives payment for services from a client, makes more than one lobbying contact for the client on an issue and spends at least 20 percent of their time in a three-month period on lobbying activities. A lobbying contact is defined as communication on behalf of a client regarding "the formulation, modification or adoption of federal legislation."

Gingrich's tax return doesn't show how much money he received as a consultant working through his Gingrich Group and his Center for Health Transformation. The center urges changes to health-related policies and laws, practices and technology but says it "does not provide lobbying services nor directly or indirectly participate in lobbying activities of any kind." Instead, all of Gingrich's income is lumped together as $2.4 million in payments from Gingrich Holdings, a sort of parent company managing his interests in other businesses.

The Center for Health Transformation served more than 100 companies in 2010, with some paying as much as $200,000 a year to join Gingrich's organization. While the center has said it generated $55 million from hundreds of corporate sponsors from 2001 to 2010 with Gingrich leading the effort, it said it won't release a list of clients due to confidentiality clauses in its contracts.

Last year as he prepared for the presidential run, Gingrich sold his interest in the Gingrich Group and the Center for Health Transformation. He hasn't said how much he received in the buyout, but his financial disclosure form shows his Gingrich Productions is owed between $5 million and $25 million from the Gingrich Group.

Gingrich's tax return also doesn't show how much he received from his Fox News contract as a frequent on-air contributor. That contract was managed by Gingrich Communications, a business that handles his appearances and speaking engagements.

Last fall when Gingrich was first denying ever working as a lobbyist, he told a South Carolina audience that he didn't need to walk the halls of Congress to make a living because of the bounty he received in speaking fees.

"I'm going to be really direct, OK? I was charging $60,000 a speech. And the number of speeches was going up, not down," he said.

Gingrich has not identified the groups that paid him for those speeches.

Gingrich also continued to earn money as an author, although it's not clear how much of his earnings came from payments received by Gingrich Communications from his books.

While the $2.4 million in Gingrich's business payments are not detailed, the tax return does identify more than $712,000 of other income:

—$252,500 for his salary from Gingrich Holdings;

—$191,827 for his wife's salary from Gingrich Productions and $5,918 from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington as a member of the church's professional choir;

—$76,200 for his congressional pension;

—$72,274 from his share of his daughter's business;

—$38,637 for dividend and interest payments;

—$33,124 in tax refunds;

—$21,625 in speaking fees paid directly to Gingrich and not his businesses;

—$20,000 for him and his wife for serving on boards of directors. The boards are not identified.


Follow Blackledge on Twitter: http://twitter.com/brettblackledge

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