Multimillionaire Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blasted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Monday for the way he made a living in recent years.
During a NBC debate in Tampa, Florida, Romney charged that Gingrich had “peddled influence” in his role as an advisor for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), also known as Freddie Mac.
“You said you were paid $300,000 by Freddie Mac for an historian,” Romney explained. “They don’t pay people $25,000 a month for six years as historian. That adds up to $1.6 million.”
As the head of venture capital firm Bain Capital, Romney made millions for himself by buying and selling distressed companies, sometimes eliminating thousands of jobs. Earlier this month, Romney claimed that the $374,327.62 he made in speaker’s fees the most recent year were “not very much.”
“As a business man, you know that the gross revenue of Bain wasn’t your personal income,” Gingrich told Romney. “We had a company. The company was being paid. My share was about $35,000 a year. … What’s the gross revenue of Bain in the years you were associated with it?”
“Very substantial,” Romney admitted.
“Did Bain ever do any work with any company that did any work with the government like Medicare?” Gingrich pressed.
“We didn’t do any work with the government,” Romney insisted.
“I understand your technique which you used on McCain, you used on Huckabeee,” Gingrich shot back. “You used consistently. OK? It’s unfortunate.”
Romney’s claim that he never did any work with the government while at Bain may not be exactly true.
According to Deseret News, Bain purchased Damon Corp. in 1989, a medical medical testing firm that eventually pleaded guilty to defrauding the government to the tune of $25 million. The company later paid a $119 million fine.
Romney also has $500,000 invested in Freddie Mac’s sister organization, Fannie Mae.
Last week, liberal comedian Bill Maher noted that the reason many Americans disliked Romney wasn’t because of his massive wealth.
“It’s not because he’s rich,” Maher said. “It’s how he got rich.”
Watch this video from NBC News, broadcast Jan. 23, 2012.