On Thursday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he will not be a part of Donald Trump’s cabinet.
Gingrich’s name had been bandied about as a choice for various posts, including secretary of defense, state or health and human services. But in an interview with McClatchy, Gingrich, 73, bluntly said, “I will not be in the Cabinet. I intend to be focused on strategic planning.”
Gingrich did not reveal whether the decision to stay out of the Cabinet came from him or Trump; the Trump transition team had no comment.
Gingrich left Congress in 1999; he has been hired by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and made speeches supporting the pharmaceutical industry. Some speculation revolved around his connection to that industry wreaking havoc with serving under Trump, as Trump has slammed the industry, saying, “The drug companies probably have the second or third most powerful lobby in this country. They get the politicians, and every single one of them is getting money from them.”
The Washington Post reported in 2011 that Gingrich’s attorney Randy Evans acknowledged Gingrich had made $100 million in ten years; Gingrich stated, admitted, “I was charging $60,000 a speech on the road, and I was doing 50 to 80 speeches a year.”
Gingrich created the for-profit Center for Health Transformation. Clients, many of them big pharmaceutical companies, paid his center huge sums – up to $200,000 – to hear his views, it was revealed later in the center’s bankruptcy proceedings. He insisted it was not a lobbying firm, and he was not a lobbyist. He charged corporate supporters “membership fees” …
Documents filed on April 4, 2012, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia show the Center for Health Transformation, which still was registered as The Gingrich Group LLC, owed in a range between $1 million and $10 million to more than 50 creditors.
Settlement documents obtained by McClatchy show that the bankruptcy proceeding went to mediation and continued into April 2014, when Gingrich agreed to $320,000 to be freed from his obligations to creditors. He paid creditors 31 cents on the dollar if his liabilities were indeed about $1 million.