Speaking to a live audience at the 92nd Street Y Wednesday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow blasted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for his opposition to federal unemployment benefits.

"I'm opposed to giving people money for doing nothing," Gingrich insisted during a recent speech to GOP activists in South Carolina.

"Let us review for just a second how Newt Gingrich makes his money," Maddow began. "For starters, he hands out fake awards in exchange for cash."

"Newt Gingrich makes money right now running a fake awards for small businesses scam," she continued. "Last year he tried to give one of his fake awards to a small business called The Lodge in Dallas, Texas."

In exchange for a $5,000 donation, Gingrich offered The Lodge, a strip club, a certificate, a novelty gavel and a dinner with him.

"When Mr. Gingrich realized he was giving one of his fake awards -- for a $5,000 donation -- to a strip club he decided to rescind the award and the dinner invitation," Maddow noted.

In mid-December, Gingrich sent another letter to The Lodge and asked them for a $2,000 donation to his American Solutions organization.

"This is how Newt Gingrich makes his money but he doesn't think that you earned yours," Maddow observed.

"Newt Gingrich is a direct mail scam artist. He hires the analog equivalent of spammers to troll the Yellow Pages, looking for businesses he can fool into thinking they are winning a 'Newt award,' and then he cons money out of them for accepting it," she said.

This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Dec. 22, 2010.

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