Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) sharply criticized former speaker of the House and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich Wednesday, following comments Gingrich made in October suggesting the House member should be in jail for the economic crisis.
"He's a man with no ethical core whatsoever," Frank told the Boston Globe.
"There are a number of conservatives whom I respect. ... Newt's just never had any principles, so no I'm not surprised about this at all," he said, referring to a report that Gingrich earned between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting work for Freddie Mac.
A Gingrich spokesman confirmed to The Huffington Post that Freddie Mac paid roughly $30,000 per month for his "strategic advice," but said the money went to Gingrich's consulting firm, The Gingrich Group. Gingrich has denied that he was ever a lobbyist, but former Freddie Mac officials said his role was to build bridges between the company and Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Frank also criticized Gingrich Wednesday to MSNBC's Martin Bashir. "You talk about the 'L' word with Newt. Let's be clear the two words apply to Newt: lobbyist and liar." He added, "He was clearly there as a lobbyist. You don't enhance your academic credentials by having been speaker. What you enhance is your value as a lobbyist."
Gingrich later criticized Frank on the Laura Ingraham show over the collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. "I wasn't speaker at the time, but Barney Frank was in Congress."
Frank has admitted that he was late in seeing the insolvency problems with Freddie Mac and its sister company, Fannie Mae, but also added that Republicans controlled the House between 1995 and 2006 (with Gingrich as speaker between 1995 and 1999) and, in his view, did not do anything.
Gingrich suggested Frank and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the two top Democrats behind Wall Street reform legislation, should be in jail for missing the financial crisis in an Oct. 11 debate. Frank responded at the time, "It's interesting ... this notion we caused the problem that started while they were in charge even by Gingrich's standards is very odd."
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