Freddie paid Gingrich Group $25,000 monthly retainer
Freddie Mac paid a consulting firm headed by Republican presidential nominee Newt Gingrich a $25,000 monthly retainer in 2006, according to documents released by The Gingrich Group Monday night. The contract capped the retainer at $300,000 for the year. Gingrich decided to release the documents ahead of the debate in response to heavy criticism from GOP rival Mitt Romney. A television ad began running in Florida, where the next primary election will be held, portraying Gingrich as "a Washington insider" who took money from the mortgage giant just before its failure. The documents released Monday reveal little about what Gingrich actually did for Freddie. But an early 2007 interview discovered by The Wall Street Journal in December shows the presidential hopeful trumpeting the government-sponsored enterprise and warned against changing their business model. "I'm convinced that if NASA were a GSE, we probably would be on Mars today," Gingrich said in the interview. Since the financial crisis, Freddie has drawn more than $72.2 billion in bailouts from the Treasury Department and paid back nearly $15 billion. Combined, Fannie Mae and Freddie owe the Treasury $151 billion in funds. Gingrich founded The Gingrich Group, which posted the documents on its website. "The contract was solely for consulting purposes and not lobbying," said Nancy Desmond, CEO of The Gingrich Group/Center for Health Transformation, in a statement. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.