Freddie Mac said to have paid Newt Gingrich $1.6M: reports


Newt Gingrich speaks during a debate hosted by CNBC and the Michigan Republican Party at Oakland University on November 9, 2011 in Rochester, Michigan.


Scott Olson

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was paid $1.6 million by mortgage company Freddie Mac, sources told Bloomberg News

Though the former House speaker, Gingrich is an outspoken critic of the mortgage company, the now government-controlled firm paid him between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees, Bloomberg reported.

The amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment that Gingrich was asked about during the Republican presidential debate on Nov. 9, and more than what was disclosed during the congressional investigations into the housing industry collapse, CBS News reported.

According to Reuters, Gingrich acknowledged that he'd received consulting fees from Freddie Mac, but that he didn't believe he was contracted by them.  

"I was approached. I was glad to offer strategic advice and we did it for a number of companies and Gingrich Group was very successful," he told reporters, Reuters reported.

More from GlobalPost: Newt Gingrich surges in poll.  

He described his work for Freddie Mac as being "a historian" for the troubled mortgange lender, The New York Times reported. Gingrich referred to the work that he had done as "strategic advice."

According to CBS News:

Gingrich gave no indication he was paid any more than that, and he said he earned by the money by offering advice as a historian. Gingrich said he told the mortgage company that their lending practices were "insane."

Gingrich also said that "it's a good case for breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and getting much smaller institutions back into the private sector to be competitive and to be responsible for their behavior," during the debate.

According to a Bloomberg poll, Gingrich is in a four-way tie for first in Iowa. Another Bloomberg poll out of New Hampshire today shows Gingrich in third place there.