NEWS RELEASE



For Immediate Release: For More Information Contact:

Monday, February 6, 1995 Ralph Nader (202) 296-2787

Gary Ruskin (202) 296-2787

Gingrich Staff Arrangement Needs House Ethics Committee Investigation,

Nader and Ruskin Say

Ralph Nader and the Congressional Accountability Project called for an investigation of Speaker Newt Gingrich to determine whether he is violating prohibitions against the private financing of office expenses by employing Joseph Gaylord, a consultant to GOPAC, to do official work.

Recent news accounts indicate that Joseph Gaylord appears to be performing official work. Both Federal law and House Rules prohibit private funding of Congressional offices to prevent appearance and actuality of influence peddling. Nader and Gary Ruskin, director of the Congressional Accountability Project, sent their ethics complaint to Rep. Nancy Johnson, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

"Speaker Newt Gingrich should meet the highest legal and ethical standards," Nader said. "This arrangement smells, and we want a House Ethics investigation right now."

"Is Speaker Gingrich breaking the law in his own office?" Ruskin asked. "That's what we want the House Ethics Committee to find out."

Several news stories in recent weeks have described official duties performed by Joseph Gaylord. Phil Kuntz of the Wall Street Journal explained Mr. Gaylord's role in the Gingrich office:

Though not a government employee, he [Gaylord] also has a fair amount of influence over Mr. Gingrich's congressional operations. He regularly attends meetings in which House GOP leaders and staff plot the transfer of power from the Democrats.

...

Today, Mr. [Eddie] Mahe [a top Republican operative] calls Mr. Gaylord "the master coordinator of the totality of Newt's life." Indeed, one former Gingrich aide calls Mr. Gaylord a "super-chief of staff." Often seen in Mr. Gingrich's Capitol Hill offices, he has been known to pass on instructions from the Congressman the morning after a late-night chat with the boss. This year, Mr. Gaylord managed Mr. Gingrich's "Contract With America" project, which developed and marketed the House GOP's legislative agenda, "from its inception to its conclusion," says Mr. Luntz.

Richard Cohen of the National Journal quotes a GOP source stating that "Joe is the closest to Newt...He is the overseer of Newt's world...Joe helps to select his [House] staff and to fix the payroll." The article states that according to "some Gingrich associates," Mr. Gaylord "has become the Speaker's most important adviser."

Representative Gingrich and other House Republicans criticized President Bill Clinton for providing passes to political consultants such as James Carville, Paul Begala, and Stan Greenberg. The Wall Street Journal reported that Gingrich signed a 1993 letter stating that the activities of these consultants "could create the potential for abuse by allowing a select few to gain undue access to key public officials."

Federal law states that "No Senator or member of the House of Representatives may maintain or use, directly or indirectly, an unofficial office account or defray official expenses from...funds received from a political committee...[or] any other funds that are not specifically appropriated for official expenses."

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