The NY Times says that Netw was tied uo with Fannie Mae and freddie MAc during his time in Congress. Highlights include the early revolving door:
Mr. Gingrich’s senior advisers were important as well, with a handful of his aides and confidants going on to work for Freddie and Fannie or for lobbying groups that represented them. Of particular significance, several officials said, was Fannie’s hiring of Arne L. Christenson, Mr. Gingrich’s chief of staff, as a top executive and lobbyist in 1999.
And support for their agenda:
In a showdown critical to the companies’ fortunes, Mr. Gingrich played an important behind-the-scenes role in helping block a proposal in 1995 that would have forced Fannie and Freddie — rather than taxpayers — to pay potentially billions of dollars in increased fees, according to interviews and press accounts at the time.
At the time, Representative Jim Leach, a senior Republican from Iowa who led the House banking committee and was a fierce critic of Fannie and Freddie, wanted the companies to pay the bulk of about $4.8 billion to finance a reserve for ailing savings and loan institutions.
Through their lobbyists, Freddie and Fannie fought hard against the plan, and Mr. Gingrich made his opposition to it clear in a meeting with Mr. Leach on Capitol Hill. By the time the two men emerged, the proposal was dead.
“Newt was quite a pragmatist,” said a Republican official who was involved in the fee increase debate and spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid becoming embroiled in the current Republican race. In coming to the defense of Freddie and Fannie, Mr. Gingrich “was going with the consensus of his party — of both parties, really,” the official said.
A separate attempt within the House budget committee in 1995 to raise fees on Freddie and Fannie by hundreds of millions of dollars also died without a vote after Mr. Gingrich rejected it. The speaker asserted that raising fees would violate the Republicans’ oft-cited no new tax pledge.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25-— The prospects for broad financial deregulation this year dimmed considerably today as House Republic leaders abandoned a proposal for a $4.8 billion fee on three Government-sponsored businesses that assist the housing industry.
Representative Jim Leach, the Iowa Republican who is chairman of the House Banking Committee, emerged tonight from a meeting with Speaker Newt Gingrich to say that his proposal was "no longer an optism."
Bankers' anger at the prospect of bailing out savings institutions has spilled over into the debate on Glass-Steagall. Mr. Leach, whose top priority is to repeal Glass-Steagall, tried to make the banks happy by proposing instead that the three Government-sponsored enterprises put up the money instead.
But the plan quickly backfired. Real estate agents and mortgage banks furiously objected that this would represent a tax on home ownership. Bankers welcomed the possibility that they would not have to pay the interest, but refused to commit themselves to support Glass-Steagall.
When Mr. Leach met behind closed doors on Tuesday evening with his House Banking Committee colleagues, he found them nearly united in hostility. "There was a consensus that nobody supported it really, there was no strong support," said Representative Marge Roukema of New Jersey, the Republican chairwoman of the House Banking subcommittee on financial institutions.
It appears that Newt was the herald for political reality rather than its architect.