Currency of Corruption: Phil Gingrey requested earmark for ex-staffer

September 29, 2010 11:45 am

by Jason · 32 comments

Roll Call is reporting that Rep. Phil Gingrey requested an earmark for a former staffer turned lobbyist:

On April 1, 2008, Rep. Phil Gingrey paid Mitchell Hunter, his former chief of staff, $6,000 for campaign consulting fees. That payment came one day after the Georgia Republican signed a letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting an earmark for the National Center for State Courts, which had recently hired Hunter as a lobbyist.

This is one of the reasons I believe the Pledge to America is a joke. It doesn’t address earmarks at all. While they are a small portion of the overall federal budget, they are symbolic of waste and corruption in Washington.

H/T: Political Insider

Scott65 September 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Phil Gingrey is hypocrite supreme. He spews party dogma if you put him in front of a TV camera, but obviously operates in a different matter. People in his district need to wise up

SFrazier September 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Love Phil Gingrey… He is a good man and a great statesman.

Rick Day September 29, 2010 at 8:21 pm


lukethedrifter September 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Mitch Hunter is a former Campaign Manager for Congressman Gingrey who then became his Chief of Staff. Like many, many others before and since, he served honorably for his boss and left to go into business on his own.

Most all congressmen hire consultants to run the political side of their organizations. Who better for Gingrey to hire than someone who has as much familiarity with your campaign as your former manager and COS?

I despise earmarks and commend the Republican House Members for finally joining the leadership of Congressmen Lynn Westmoreland and Tom Price to pledge an end to the system. However, if you’ll read the article and not simply make up salacious sounding headlines, you’ll see that this earmark was an ongoing request that was awarded for many years. Long before Mr. Hunter lobbied for them.

If you don’t like the rules, fight for them to be changed, but don’t malign the reputation of a guy like Mitch that is running a successful and productive business.

Rick Day September 29, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Who better for Gingrey to hire than someone who has as much familiarity with your campaign as your former manager and COS?

Nepotism is the father of the Spoils System, which breeds stepchild Corruption. Because this so transparent, it is considered…OK? How about the reward of getting a ‘good guy’ like Gingrich into office? Should that not be enough? That it is almost ‘expected’ to get some sugar on the back side is dismissed as ‘familiarity’?


lukethedrifter September 30, 2010 at 1:00 am

First of all, you do realize we are talking about Phil Gingrey and not Newt Gingrich, Yo?

Second, the statement you reference has nothing to do with the accusation raised by Roll Call. Hiring a former staffer to consult for your campaign is perfectly legal. He was paid by the campaign as a campaign consultant.

lukethedrifter September 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm

“This is one of the reasons I believe the Pledge to America is a joke.”

Give credit where it is due Jason.

“House GOP Approves Conference Wide Earmark Ban” Roll Call, 3-11-10.

Jason September 29, 2010 at 1:59 pm

“Republicans waver on earmarks ban”

If they are serious about reforming or ending the practice, why not include it in their “pledge.”

lukethedrifter September 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Okay, I agree on that point. It should have been included in the pledge. However, the one year moratorium is a good start and goes far beyond what either party has done to this point.

Jason September 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Good start? One and done is a good start?

Three Jack September 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm

most reputable consultants avoid lobbying to make sure something like this does not happen.

I Am Jacks Post September 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Like whom, precisely? I’d love to know who you consider to be a “reputable consultant.”

I might add, Mitch is an honest guy. To imply otherwise, or to suggest that he did something improper, demonstrates that you have precious little knowledge of anything beyond county council-level politics.

Doug Grammer September 29, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Ha! A pair of Jacks! IAJP, 3J seems quick to point fingers without knowing all the facts.

Three Jack September 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm

point fingers? nah, just expressing the truth.

when consultants get into lobbying, conflict of interest questions are bound to be raised. i don’t know mitch, but you have to admit this looks suspicious at the very least.

Progressive Dem September 29, 2010 at 5:36 pm

The GOP is the biggest bunch of fiscal conservative hypocrites I’ve ever seen. You complain about the deficit as the biggest problem facing the country, yet you want to keep he tax cuts for the $250k+ crowd even if it blows another TRILLION dollars in the deficit. You rail against earmarks unless they’re your earmarks, or they’ve been done many times before.

Baker September 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I’ll grant you your points on earmarks. The tax point however…In the GOP’s and most conservatives’ minds, extending the tax cuts will help the economy recover. If the economy doesn’t recover, it doesn’t matter what the tax rates are, our deficit will go up because incoming revenues will continue to be down. This article,, explains it better than I ever could…but I’m guessing you’ll disagree.

Progressive Dem September 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm

The tax cuts have been in place for years. They haven’t produced jobs.

Baker September 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Reliance on a terrible real estate bubble and corrupt Wall Street regulators/ credit raters aren’t the fault of the tax cuts. Not to mention corrupt Wall Streeters themselves, I’m not giving them a free pass either.

Progressive Dem September 30, 2010 at 12:05 am

They didn’t create jobs before the bubble burst.

Baker October 1, 2010 at 1:10 am

Via the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

In the year 2000, there 132,485,000 employees in the United States.

2007: 137,951,000
(from there, click the “non-farm” button and it should take you to the right page)

There were new jobs, but I think we’d agree a lot of these were the wrong jobs.

Baker October 1, 2010 at 1:15 am

Do you not think the tax cuts had anything to do with these new jobs? BTW: I’m not trying to be an ass, I’m trying to have a legitimate but everything is usually so snarky on here. As we all know, distinguishing between sincerity and sarcasm on here can sometimes be difficult.

Progressive Dem October 1, 2010 at 1:45 am

The US had the worst job growth from 2000 to 2008 since the Depression. To keep up with population growth, the US needs to add 150,000 per month, or 1.8 million jobs per year. We fell behind during the period you cited. Also many of the jobs created in that period were the result of increased military spending to support the wars in Iraq and Afganistan.


There is no basis for believing that the Bush tax cuts resulted in higher employment. That is fiction.

Baker October 1, 2010 at 10:38 am

Again, via BLS:

The 2007 average annual unemployment rate was 4.6. That’s pretty much the minimum, anymore jobs created after that and you’d end up with a labor shortage.

I kind of liken this argument to that about the stimulus created or saved numbers. There is no way to ponit at x number of jobs and say those were created by n, except that in my view the tax cuts are a way for the people to create needed and efficient jobs, rather that govt. produced, make-work, bureuacratic nightmare jobs.

Baker October 1, 2010 at 10:40 am

And believe it or not, I kind of agree with some aspects of Keynesian economics. I just think Pelosi and Reid royally screwed the concept and probably have no idea who Keynes even was.

Pelosi: “Wait, you’re telling me I can write a bill for anything we want for up to $800 MILL? Sweet”

Baker October 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

They could’ve built world-class hospitals in every major city in America. They could’ve refinished every road we have. (at this point any conservatives should stop reading) They could’ve built a freakin’ mag-lev from Orlando-Atlanta-Chattanooga-some town in Ohio.

Progressive Dem October 1, 2010 at 11:57 am

About $550 billion has been spent from the stimulus. Half of that was tax breaks to families and businesses. The incentives to business was R&D and equipment write-offs. The other half went to states and unemployed workers. The states are the ones that have administered the money and determined where it was spent. The administration also spent $77 billion on public works projects, and more is allocated, but not spent. Some of this went to weatherization, green energy and road construction.

States were also given money to offset increased demand for Medicaid and to prevent teacher layoffs.

The stimulus could have been directed to healthcare, but that probably would not have had the same impact on the economy. We were shedding 750,000 job per month when it was passed. The money had to be spent fast to have an impact. I would love to see money invested in transportation projects, but by the time you complete enviornmental impact statements on new r-o-w for high-speed rail or transit, we’re 3 years down the road.

Baker October 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm

So half the stimulus was tax cuts, and the other half was bailouts for states? I thought tax cuts were no good and it doesn’t very Keynesian. I think the way they did it was a huge disservice to those who believe that Keynesianism can work. For the next 100 years, anytime anyone proposes a stimulus, people will point back to here and say it’s no good.

Baker October 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

With all that said, I think we could’ve seen pretty robust growth in 2010 if there was some level of certainty for 2011 and 2012. The amount of cash reserves on hand by banks and businesses is huge and is just sitting there because people don’t even know what the tax rates will be in three months. It would be better to raise taxes and at least people would know how to plan.

Progressive Dem October 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm

The uncertainty has more do with demand than anything else. Banks are being watched like hawks and are very risk averse. People are saving, and that’s a good thing.

Rick Day September 29, 2010 at 8:20 pm

PG early on in his candidacy shocked the GOP when he agreed that a review of the cannabis laws that suggested re-legalization should be implemented was as valid as any other position.

Or some such.

A week later, Rove&Co set him straight.

I filed him in the General Toolbox category, after that. What a party hack!

Ramblinwreck September 29, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Why would this little issue surprise anyone who has been keeping track of Gingrey? This is the guy who voted in favor of Cash for Clunkers twice. Even Deal had the good sense to vote “present”.

Doug Grammer October 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I think a better title of this post would have been: “Former Gingrey staffer goes to work for organization that has been getting ear mark money since 2003.”

It’s more accurate and less misleading. I am not a fan of earmarks, there needs to be a better system, but as far as “culture of corruption” goes, move along, nothing to see here.

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