Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich contacted a Federal Communications Commission official about a company seeking a lucrative deal with the federal government, emails obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show. Gingrich has said he has “nothing” to do with the company.
The former House speaker has raised eyebrows with his public advocacy for a nationalized 5G policy at the same time that wireless company Rivada Networks has pushed the administration to allow them to provide 5G spectrum from the Department of Defense on a wholesale basis.
In his email to the FCC official reviewed by the DCNF, Gingrich appeared to refer to Rivada as “us.”
Rivada boasts a stable of political connections including Karl Rove and former Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Gingrich, a Republican, told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade in April 2019 that he had no ties to Rivada after former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accused the former speaker of acting in concert with Rivada.
“You also say you have nothing to do with Rivada, right?” Kilmeade asked.
“Nothing,” Gingrich answered. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Was Accused Of ‘Cronyism’ As Mayor After Creating Government Position For His Girlfriend)
But emails obtained by the DCNF show that Gingrich reached out to an FCC official about Rivada in November 2019, after Rivada CEO Declan Ganley sent Gingrich an email complaining about a former FCC staffer who had been sharply critical of Rivada.
“He even sat in on your meeting with [the FCC official],” Ganley wrote to Gingrich, referring to the former FCC staffer.
Gingrich forwarded the email to the official, adding: “Were you aware of the contempt [the former FCC staffer] has for us? Is this the kind of advice you are leaning on? No wonder Huawei is kicking the stuffings out of us.”
The contrast between Huawei offering medical equipment to help countries while AT&T has its handout for billions from the taxpayer is very disturbing. Our once great telecommunications companies have lost the entrepreneurial drive that let them lead the world.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 24, 2020
“I email or talk regularly with Declan Ganley because he is brilliant. I have never advocated for Rivada,” Gingrich told the DCNF when asked if he had coordinated with Rivada or contacted policymakers on the company’s behalf.
Despite the emails, Gingrich maintained that he “never contacted the FCC on behalf of Rivada. I was complaining about a staffer who was dishonest.”
When asked whether his use of the word “us” suggested that he was coordinating with Rivada, Gingrich replied “no.”
Ganley told the DCNF in an email that “neither Rivada Networks, nor anyone associated with Rivada Networks, has ever had a commercial relationship with Former Speaker Gingrich.”
“I have never asked Mr Gringrich to speak on Rivada’s behalf to anyone, and he was not doing so here,” he added.
The DCNF was provided the emails on the condition that the source as well as the FCC officials could remain anonymous.
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