WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A government watchdog group Wednesday requested the release of all documents in the 1990s ethics investigation into U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, said all information should be made public so voters can decide for themselves if Gingrich was let off too lightly, The Hill reported. The group filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
In 1997 a House ethics panel's investigated allegations Gingrich improperly used a college course, funded by political donors, to promote political causes, potentially violating federal tax laws and House ethics rules. The House voted 395-28 to adopt the committee's report that recommended reprimanding Gingrich and imposing a $300,000 penalty.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who was on the Ethics Committee at the time, has made remarks in interviews suggesting the committee had information that was not publicly released. Her press secretary said Wednesday she was misunderstood and was actually talking about the large amount of information available in the public record.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, locked in a struggle with Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination, told Fox News Channel the entire record should be available.
"All of the records that were part of the ethics investigation, all of the transcripts, all of the records have to be made public," Romney said Wednesday. "Not just the final whitewashed report, but the full record, the reason that 88 percent of the Republicans in the House voted to reprimand their own speaker -- the first time in American history that's happened."
Gingrich has said he engineered the reprimand and fine to avoid further confrontation in the House.