A month after joining Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi in a televised call to fight climate change in 2008, Newt Gingrich pivoted to a much different message: Increase domestic drilling and block legislation aimed at implementing a “cap-and-trade” system to curb carbon pollution.
Within weeks, the money began pouring in from major U.S. energy firms, which eventually contributed more than $2 million to American Solutions’ pro-drilling and anti-cap-and-trade campaign for the next two years, according to a review of disclosure reports and other records by The Washington Post.
The push marked a key turning point in Gingrich’s eclectic history on energy issues, which previously included alliances with Democrats such as former vice president Al Gore and consulting work for ethanol firms seeking to maintain lucrative federal subsidies.
The episode also illustrates the close financial ties between Gingrich and many of the interest groups whose causes he championed. The former House speaker has come under fire from his GOP rivals for taking tens of millions of dollars from Freddie Mac, health-care firms and other interest groups in the past decade.
Published: Dec 29, 2011