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Being a Washington insider has made Newt Gingrich a wealthy man

After 20 years as a member of Congress, including two terms as House speaker, Newt Gingrich did not go back home to Georgia. Instead, he kept his hand in the political game, making lots of money consulting for corporations.

By Staff writer / November 18, 2011

Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich greets supporters during a rally at the Jacksonville Landing on Nov. 17 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Stephen Morton/AP

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Of all the Republican presidential hopefuls, none has been a quintessential Washington figure longer than Newt Gingrich.

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After serving 20 years as a member of Congress, including two terms as House speaker, he did not go back home to Georgia, where he had been a history professor. Instead, he kept his hand in the political game, making lots of money in the process – much of it consulting for (or, as others suggest, lobbying on behalf of) major corporations.

In recent days, the list of Mr. Gingrich's big-name clients has continued to grow: mortgage giant Freddie Mac, Microsoft, General Electric, I.B.M., the US Chamber of Commerce, and the pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America).

IN PICTURES: Newt, now and then

As of August, reports the Daily Caller online news site, “Gingrich’s total assets were valued at between $6.7 million and $30.7 million in 2010. He has written 23 books and produced eight documentaries with his wife. He commands between $40,000 and $50,000 per speech.”

By comparison, Mitt Romney’s net worth is estimated to be between $190 million and $250 million held in blind trusts. But at the moment, at least, Gingrich’s wealth and business dealings have become more of a political issue.

Early in his presidential run, Gingrich was criticized for taking a two-week Greek cruise rather than spending time with potential voters – one reason much of his campaign staff resigned en masse in June. He also had to explain why he and his wife had a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s.

Gingrich’s reasoning behind his financial success and personal wealth: “I've been a very hard-working business person.”

“I think I represent the wing of America that believes that hard work and success is good, not bad, and I'm happy to answer for it,” Gingrich told supporters in Jacksonville, Fla., this week.

Gingrich also has his own charitable organization, but that, too, has generated controversy.

“The charity, Renewing American Leadership, not only featured Gingrich on its website and in fundraising letters, it also paid $220,000 over two years to one of Gingrich's for-profit companies, Gingrich Communications,” ABC News reported. “It purchased cases of Gingrich's books and bought up copies of DVDs produced by another of the former House speaker's entities, Gingrich Productions.”

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