CORRECTION: The following story has been corrected to reflect that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich did consulting work for one government sponsored enterprise in the houseing market, Freddie Mac.
GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said late Tuesday that he offered "strategic advice" to Freddie Mac, pushing back against the suggestion that money he took for consulting with the mortgage-finance entity may have been for lobbying.
"I have never lobbied," Gingrich told reporters at a campaign event in Sheffield, Iowa. "I just want to make that very clear."
The former House speaker compared Freddie Mac to the transcontinental railroad, saying both were government sponsored enterprises, a government term for a public-private partnership. Some of the entities, like the mortgage giant, have suffered from "bad management" and "bad ideas," but in the long run have been "a useful model" for the country, Gingrich said.
"What I tried to do over and over again with those, is offer strategic advice for whatever they were dealing with," Gingrich said of his relationship with Freddie Mac. " ... A lot of it was aimed at health care -- how do you lower the cost of health care for your employees -- they're a very big employer."
His comments came just ahead of a new Bloomberg report Wednesday that Gingrich earned between $1.6 million and $1.8 million for consulting with Freddie Mac.
The million-dollar figures, earned over eight years, are considerably larger than the $300,000 contract with the mortgage giant that Gingrich was asked about at last week's CNBC-sponsored GOP presidential debate. "I have never done any lobbying. Every contract that was written during the period when I was out of the office, specifically said I would do no lobbying, and I offered advice,” he said during the debate.
Gingrich said he “offered them advice on precisely what they didn’t do,” and told executives that the entity's lending practices were “insane,” but former executives disputed that account, Bloomberg reported.