Gingrich declines to release ethics documents

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is refusing to ask the Justice Department to release thousands of records from the House Ethics Committee’s investigation into his conduct as speaker in the 1990s.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond likens the request from the open-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to “wild goose chases.”

The organization asked the Justice Department to release documents forwarded from the House in 1997 after it investigated Gingrich’s use of tax-exempt organizations for political gain. The House committee never concluded whether tax laws were violated, and the Internal Revenue Service later cleared the organization involved.

Hammond said Wednesday the IRS was “exonerating every politically motivated charge.”

Gingrich agreed to pay $300,000 as reimbursement to taxpayers for the cost of probe.