Former House Speaker and current president candidate Newt Gingrich was paid between $1.6 and $1.8 million for his consulting work with semi-public mortgage company Freddie Mac, reports Bloomberg. That's a bit higher than the previously reported figure of $300,000, which Gingrich was asked about during the CNBC Republican primary debate. "When asked at the debate what he did to earn a $300,000 payment in 2006, the former speaker said he 'offered them advice on precisely what they didn’t do,' and warned the company that its lending practices were 'insane,'" Bloomberg reports. "Former Freddie Mac executives who worked with Gingrich dispute that account." Talking Points Memo's David Kurtz goes somewhat farther than Bloomberg, writing, "Newt was not, as he claimed, warning them about the housing bubble or the dangers of their business model ... In fact, his role was, in part, to protect the mortgage giants from more regulation by the Republican-controlled House."
Something that Freddie Mac officials and Gingrich can agree on, however, is that Gingrich's work at Freddie Mac did not technically constitute lobbying, although some of the former Freddie Mac officials interviewed by Bloomberg said, "Gingrich was asked to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it." One of Gingrich's suggestions was cozying up to the Boy Scouts of America. "One idea that the former Georgia congressman proposed that Freddie Mac didn’t pursue was initiating a program with the Boy Scouts of America to teach youngsters the importance of saving money and maintaining good credit so they would qualify to buy a home later in life," according to Bloomberg.