1. Newt’s new gigs:
One of my favorite side stories of last year’s presidential campaign had to do with the details that emerged about all the money Newt Gingrich had been making in recent years from speeches, books and lobbying (which he insisted was merely consulting or “advocacy”). As I wrote at the time , Gingrich’s release of his tax returns (when he was taunting Mitt Romney to do the same) was so intriguing because most of his $3.1 million in 2011 income was derived from something called Gingrich Holdings Inc. This was the clearinghouse for his various activities, and it presented him ample opportunity to get tax breaks by routing all kinds of personal expenses through his private corporation. It was an only-in-Washington success story.
With his losing campaign having diminished whatever luster Gingrich might have had, it would be interesting to see whether and how he and his wife, Calista, have revived Newt Inc. Washington seems to be a place where even the politicians pushed furthest to the sidelines can make a good living off of who they once were, who they know and, in the case of books and speeches, their true believers. Gingrich post-2012 puts that theory to a new and interesting test.
What kind of gigs has the former speaker lined up? Where has he been making the rounds trying to land “consulting” retainers? Who’s turned him down and who’s signed him up?
And while we’re contemplating the fate of pols pushed offstage, can’t someone get the scoop on what Mitt Romney is up to?
2. Watching the Sandy money:
With the Senate following the House of Representatives this week in passing a $50 billion aid package aimed at repairing the damage done by hurricane Sandy, it’s time for the New York and New Jersey press to gear up and follow all that money. It’s the kind of story the New York Post is usually good at, but everyone should be on the case.