Newt Gingrich, who said he was “not an ethanol lobbyist” in a letter to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, worked as a consultant to an ethanol lobbying group in 2009. From the Center for Public Integrity:
Gingrich was a hired consultant to a major ethanol lobbying group—at more than $300,000 a year.
According to IRS records, the ethanol group Growth Energy paid Gingrich’s consulting firm $312,500 in 2009.The former House Speaker was the organization’s top-paid consultant, according to the records. His pay was one of the group’s largest single expenditures, as it took in and spent about $11 million to promote ethanol and to lobby for federal incentives for its use.
In a Growth Energy publication, Gingrich was listed as a consultant who offered advice on “strategy and communication issues” and who “will speak positively on ethanol related topics to media.”
Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler did not deny Gingrich’s employment with the group when contacted about the piece. Instead, Tyler sent this summary of Gingrich’s energy policy to National Review Online:
Newt Gingrich continues to draw a parallel between a sound American energy strategy and keeping America safe. He supports an “all of the above” energy strategy to in order to create as much energy at the lowest cost while creating the most jobs here at home.
He will gladly juxtapose that strategy with the President’s current policies which are not only responsible for increasing cost of energy and gasoline but are a direct threat to national security. Unlike the president, Gingrich would expand the exploration and use of our own energy resources and encourage energy innovation including bio-fuels, not discourage energy production which will make the United States evermore dependent on foreign sources of energy and allow those whose stated goals are to destroy America to profit from higher fuel costs.
Gingrich’s “all of the above” American energy policy seeks to maximize energy production from all sources – oil, natural gas, wind, nuclear, clean coal and biofuels.
Included in his energy proposal to keep America safe, Gingrich supports:
1. Replace the Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices, with an Environmental Solutions Agency that would work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.
2. End the ban on oil shale development in the American West, where we have three times the amount oil as Saudi Arabia.
3. Give coastal states federal royalty revenue sharing so that state’s budgets directly benefits from offshore development.
4. Enact a loser-pays law to force the losers in environmental lawsuits to pay all legal costs for the prevailing side, which will reduce frivolous lawsuits that are employed simply to stop energy production.
5. Finance cleaner energy research and projects with new oil and gas royalties.
6. Appoint a commission of engineers and scientists, not politicians, to study the damaged nuclear reactor in Japan and determine if any changes need to be made to US nuclear power standards.
Gingrich was criticized about his support for ethanol by the Journal earlier this year in a scathing editorial. He’s not the only possible 2012 contender with a record of supporting ethanol interests: Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels have also been friends to the ethanol industry.