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Eyes Wide Shut: Free Market Maven Pimps The Ethanol Industry

Turns out that free-market evangelist—and former House speaker—Newt Gingrich is also a paid booster of the heavily government-subsidized ethanol industry. How does taking $300,000 a year to promote an industry that gets billions of dollars in subsidies annually square with Gingrich’s archconservative, small-government views? It’s hard to say, as his spokesman has not returned calls asking for comment. But since Gingrich is considering running for president in 2012, it’s something Americans ought to know. —YL iWatch News, Center for Public Integrity: According to IRS records, the ethanol group Growth Energy paid Gingrich’s consulting firm $312,500 in 2009.The former House Speaker was the organization’s top-paid consultant, according to the records. His pay was one of the group’s largest single expenditures, as it took in and spent about $11 million to promote ethanol and to lobby for federal incentives for its use. In a Growth Energy publication, Gingrich was listed as a consultant who offered advice on “strategy and communication issues” and who “will speak positively on ethanol related topics to media.”

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