According to IRS records, the ethanol group Growth Energy paid Gingrich’s consulting firm $312,500 in 2009.The former House Speaker was the organization’s top-paid consultant, according to the records. His pay was one of the group’s largest single expenditures, as it took in and spent about $11 million to promote ethanol and to lobby for federal incentives for its use.
In a Growth Energy publication, Gingrich was listed as a consultant who offered advice on “strategy and communication issues” and who “will speak positively on ethanol related topics to media.”
Chris Thorne, a Growth Energy spokesman, said Gingrich was not hired again in 2010. The group was organized by ethanol producers from the Midwest in late 2008, Thorne said. Its members sought Gingrich’s counsel when it started because “they were people who were never involved in DC politics before, and they were looking for someone who knew how to get things done.” The organization’s IRS report for 2010 is not yet available.
First, the idea that Growth Energy doesn’t have anyone who is familiar with DC politics is laughable. The CEO of Growth Energy is Tom Buis, formerly the President of the American National Farmer’s Union, and named one of D.C.’s top 50 lobbyists. They also employ (or have employed) General Wesley Clark and Jim Nussle.
Second, I am not a lobbyist for ethanol, not for anyone. My support of increased domestic energy production of all forms, including biofuels and domestic drilling, is born out of our urgent national security and economic needs.