(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi now says she is not sitting on a trove of opposition research on former House Speaker-turned-GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
In an interview conducted Friday and published Monday, Pelosi hinted that once the time is right she has some juicy stories to tell about her former colleague.
“One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told Talking Points Memo. “I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him. Four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”
But on Monday afternoon, Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, suggested that her comments have been misconstrued beyond the leader’s intent.
“Leader Pelosi was clearly referring to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware,” Hammill wrote in a statement.
That ethics report examined allegations that Gingrich violated House rules by using his Congressional staff to aide him on a college course he taught called ”Renewing American Civilization.”
But the retreat from the Pelosi camp came on the heels of a powerful counterpunch from Gingrich himself: that Pelosi would risk censure in the House if she made good on her apparent threats.
In New York earlier Monday afternoon, Gingrich reacted to Pelosi’s comments by thanking her for an “early Christmas gift” and he asserted that Pelosi would be violating House rules if she disclosed anything from the ethics investigation beyond public record.
“I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard an early Christmas gift,” Gingrich told reporters. “If she is suggesting that she is going to use material that she developed while she was on the ethics committee, then that is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House and I hope that members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it.”
Gingrich, who has recently surged in polling to become the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, said that Pelosi’s threat “shows you how capriciously political” the ethics committee was when Pelosi served as a member.
“I regard it as a useful education of the American people to see what a tainted unethical political operation Nancy Pelosi was engaged in,” Gingrich said. “I would hope the House would immediately condemn her if she uses any material that was gathered while she was on the ethics committee because it would be a total violation of the committee.”
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