Congressional Accountability Project
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February 4, 1999

Honorable Lamar Smith, Chairman
Honorable Howard Berman, Ranking Member
House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct
HT-2, The Capitol
U. S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives Smith and Berman:

As a part of the committee report In The Matter of Representative Newt Gingrich, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct ("Ethics Committee") agreed to cooperate with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requests for documents relating to certain 501(c)(3) organizations affiliated with then-Speaker Gingrich. According to the committee report,

The full House of Representatives adopted this Ethics Committee report on January 21, 1997, in House Resolution 31.

However, according to the IRS, in a Technical Advice Memorandum on the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF), the Ethics Committee failed to cooperate with IRS requests for documents produced during the Preliminary Inquiry. The IRS Memorandum states:

* * * * *
These statements are troubling, given the IRS's judgment that the PFF matter was a "close case" whose outcome may have been affected by the Ethics Committee's failure to cooperate with document requests. The appearance is that the Ethics Committee has failed to cooperate with the IRS in order to benefit then-Speaker Gingrich and the Progress & Freedom Foundation. We have four questions for the Ethics Committee: