VIII. Summary of Facts Pertaining to Statements Made to the Committee
On or about September 7, 1994, Ben Jones, Mr. Gingrich's Democratic opponent in 1994, filed with the Committee a complaint against Mr. Gingrich. The complaint centered on the course. Among other things, it alleged that Mr. Gingrich had used his congressional staff to work on the course and that he had misused organizations that were exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code because the course was a partisan, political project, with significant involvement by GOPAC, and was not a permissible activity for a section 501(c)(3) organization. (Ex. 135).
On or about October 4, 1994, Mr. Gingrich wrote the Committee in response to the complaint and primarily addressed the issues concerning the use of congressional staff for the course. In doing so he stated:
I would like to make it abundantly clear that those who were paid for course preparation were paid by either the Kennesaw State Foundation, [sic] the Progress and Freedom Foundation or GOPAC. . . . Those persons paid by one of the aforementioned groups include: Dr. Jeffrey Eisenach, Mike DuGally, Jana Rogers, Patty Stechschultez [sic], Pamla Prochnow, Dr. Steve Hanser, Joe Gaylord and Nancy Desmond.(Ex. 136, p. 2).
After the Committee received and reviewed Mr. Gingrich's October 4, 1994 letter, it sent him a letter dated October 31, 1994, asking for additional information concerning the allegations of misuse of tax-exempt organizations in regard to the course. The Committee also asked for information relating to the involvement of GOPAC in various aspects of the course. As set forth in the letter, the Committee wrote:
There is, however, an allegation which requires explanation before the Committee can finalize its evaluation of the complaint. This is the allegation that, in seeking and obtaining funding for your course on Renewing American Civilization, you improperly used tax-exempt foundations to obtain taxpayer subsidization of political activity.(Ex. 137, pp. 1-2).
* * *
Your answers to [questions set forth in the letter] would be helpful to the Committee in deciding what formal action to take with respect to the complaint.
* * *
A number of documents submitted by Ben Jones, however, raise questions as to whether the course was in fact exclusively educational in nature, or instead constituted partisan political activity intended to benefit Republican candidates.
B. STATEMENTS MADE BY MR. GINGRICH TO THE COMMITTEE, DIRECTLY OR THROUGH COUNSEL
1. Mr. Gingrich's December 8, 1994 Letter to the Committee
In a letter dated December 8, 1994, Mr. Gingrich responded to the Committee's October 31, 1994 letter. (Ex. 138). In that letter, Mr. Gingrich made the following statements, which he has admitted were inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable.
1. [The course] was, by design and application, completely non-partisan. It was and remains about ideas, not politics. (Ex. 138, p. 2).The goal of the letter was to have the complaint dismissed. (11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 36).
2. The idea to teach "Renewing American Civilization" arose wholly independent of GOPAC, because the course, unlike the committee, is non-partisan and apolitical. My motivation for teaching these ideas arose not as a politician, but rather as a former educator and concerned American citizen . . . . (Ex. 138, p. 4).
3. The fact is, "Renewing American Civilization" and GOPAC have never had any official relationship. (Ex. 138, p. 4).
4. GOPAC . . . is a political organization whose interests are not directly advanced by this non-partisan educational endeavor. (Ex. 138, p. 5).
5. As a political action committee, GOPAC never participated in the administration of "Renewing American Civilization." (Ex. 138, p. 4).
6. Where employees of GOPAC simultaneously assisted the project, they did so as private, civic-minded individuals contributing time and effort to a 501(c)(3) organization. (Ex. 138, p. 4).
7. Anticipating media or political attempts to link the Course to [GOPAC], "Renewing American Civilization" organizers went out of their way to avoid even the appearances of improper association with GOPAC. Before we had raised the first dollar or sent out the first brochure, Course Project Director Jeff Eisenach resigned his position at GOPAC. (Ex. 138, p. 4).
2. March 27, 1995 Letter of Mr. Gingrich's Attorney to the Committee
On January 26, 1995, Representative Bonior filed with the Committee an amended version of the Ben Jones complaint against Mr. Gingrich. (Ex. 139). Among other things, the complaint re-alleged that the Renewing American Civilization course had partisan, political purposes and was in violation of section 501(c)(3). The complaint also alleged substantial involvement of GOPAC in the course. (Ex. 139, pp. 1-7). In a letter dated March 27, 1995, Mr. Baran, Mr. Gingrich's attorney and a partner at the law firm of Wiley, Rein and Fielding, filed a response on behalf of Mr. Gingrich to the amended complaint. (Ex. 140, PFF 4347). Prior to the letter being delivered, Mr. Gingrich reviewed it and approved its submission to the Committee. (7/18/96 Gingrich Tr. 274-275).
Mr. Cole: If there was anything inaccurate in the letter, would you have told Mr. Baran to change it?
Mr. Gingrich: Absolutely.
(7/18/96 Gingrich Tr. 275).
The letter contains the following statements, which Mr. Gingrich has admitted were inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable.
1. As Ex. 13 demonstrates, the course solicitation . . . materials are completely non-partisan. (Ex. 140, p. 19, fn. 7).The purpose of Mr. Baran's letter was to have the Committee dismiss the complaints against Mr. Gingrich. (11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 35-36).
2. GOPAC did not become involved in the Speaker's academic affairs because it is a political organization whose interests are not advanced by this non-partisan educational endeavor. (Ex. 140, p. 35).
3. The Renewing American Civilization course and GOPAC have never had any relationship, official or otherwise. (Ex. 140, p. 35).
4. As noted previously, GOPAC has had absolutely no role in funding, promoting, or administering Renewing American Civilization. (Ex. 140, pp. 34-35).
5. GOPAC has not been involved in course fundraising and has never contributed any money or services to the course. (Ex. 140, p. 28).
6. Anticipating media or political attempts to link the course to GOPAC, course organizers went out of their way to avoid even the appearance of associating with GOPAC. Prior to becoming Course Project Director, Jeffrey Eisenach resigned his position at GOPAC and has not returned. (Ex. 140, p. 36).
C. SUBCOMMITTEE'S INQUIRY INTO STATEMENTS MADE TO THE COMMITTEE
On September 26, 1996, the Subcommittee expanded the scope of the Preliminary Inquiry to determine:
[w]hether Representative Gingrich provided accurate, reliable, and complete information concerning the course entitled "Renewing American Civilization," GOPAC's relationship to the course entitled "Renewing American Civilization," or the Progress and Freedom Foundation in the course of communicating with the Committee, directly or through counsel . . . .On October 1, 1996, the Subcommittee requested that Mr. Gingrich produce to the Subcommittee all documents that were used or relied upon to prepare the letters at issue -- the letters dated October 4, 1994, December 8, 1994 and March 27, 1995. Mr. Gingrich responded to the Committee's request on October 31, 1996. (Ex. 141). In his response, Mr. Gingrich described how extremely busy he was at the time the October 4, 1994, and December 8, 1994 letters were prepared. He said, the October 4, 1994 letter was written "in [the] context of exhaustion and focused effort" on finishing a congressional session, traveling to over a hundred congressional districts, tending to his duties as Whip, and running for re-election in his district. (Ex. 141, p. 1). At the time of the December 8, 1994 letter, he said that he and his staff were "making literally hundreds of decisions" as part of the transition in the House from Democratic to Republican Control. (Ex. 141, p. 2; 11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 6, 10, 26). With respect to his level of activity at the time the March 27, 1995 letter was created Mr. Gingrich said the following:
[W]e were going through passing the Contract with America in a record 100 days in what many people believe was a forced march. I was, in parallel, beginning to lay out the base for the balanced budget by 2002, and I was, frankly, being too noisy publicly and damaging myself in the process.(11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 33-34).
I had three projects -- four; I was writing a book. So those four projects were ongoing as I was going home to report to my district, and we were being battered as part of this continuum by Bonior and others, and we wanted it handled in a professional, calm manner. We wanted to honor the Ethics process.
Mr. Gingrich wrote in his October 31, 1996 response to the Subcommittee that "although [he] did not prepare any of the letters in question, in each case [he] reviewed the documents for accuracy." (Ex. 141, p. 3). Specifically, with respect to the October 4, 1994 letter, his assistant, Annette Thompson Meeks, showed him the draft she had created and he "read it, found it accurate to the best of [his] knowledge, and signed it." (Ex. 141, p. 2). With respect to the December 8, 1994 letter, he wrote, "Again I would have read the letter carefully and concluded that it was accurate to the best of my knowledge and then signed it." (Ex. 141, p. 2). With respect to the March 27, 1995 letter, he wrote that he "read [it] to ensure that it was consistent with [his] recollection of events at that time." (Ex. 141, p. 3).
D. CREATION OF THE DECEMBER 8, 1994 AND MARCH 27, 1995 LETTERS
Mr. Gingrich appeared before the Subcommittee on November 13, 1996 to testify about these letters. He began his testimony by stating that the "ethics process is very important." (11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 4). He then went on to state:
On Monday I reviewed the 380-page [July 1996] interview with Mr. Cole, and I just want to begin by saying to the [C]ommittee that I am very embarrassed to report that I have concluded that reasonable people could conclude, looking at all the data, that the letters are not fully responsive, and, in fact, I think do fail to meet the standard of accurate, reliable and complete.(11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 5). Mr. Gingrich said several times that it was only on the Monday before his testimony -- the day when he reviewed the transcript of his July interview with Mr. Cole -- that he realized the letters were inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable. (11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 5, 8, 10, 149, 150, 195; 12/10/96 Gingrich Tr. 75). In his testimony before the Subcommittee the next month, Mr. Gingrich "apologized for what was clearly a failure to communicate accurately and completely with this [C]ommittee." (12/10/96 Gingrich Tr. 5). Mr. Gingrich said the errors were a result of "a failure to communicate involving my legal counsel, my staff and me." (12/10/96 Gingrich Tr. 5). Mr. Gingrich went on to say:
After reviewing my testimony, my counsel's testimony, and the testimony of two of his associates, the ball appears to have been dropped between my staff and my counsel regarding the investigation and verification of the responses submitted to the [C]ommittee.(12/10/96 Gingrich Tr. 5-7). Of all the people involved in drafting, reviewing, or submitting the letters, the only person who had first-hand knowledge of the facts contained within them with respect to the Renewing American Civilization course was Mr. Gingrich.
As I testified, I erroneously, it turns out, relied on others to verify the accuracy of the statements and responses. This did not happen. As my counsel's testimony indicates, there was no detailed discussion with me regarding the submissions before they were sent to the [C]ommittee. Nonetheless, I bear responsibility for them, and I again apologize to the [C]ommittee for what was an inadvertent and embarrassing breakdown.
* * *
At no time did I intend to mislead the [C]ommittee or in any way be less than forthright.
1. Creation of the December 8, 1994 Letter
According to Mr. Gingrich, after he received the Committee's October 31, 1994 letter, he decided that the issues in the letter were too complex to be handled by his office and he sought the assistance of an attorney. (11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 11). Mr. Gaylord, on behalf of Mr. Gingrich, contacted Jan Baran and the Mr. Baran's firm began representing Mr. Gingrich on November 15, 1994. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 16; 11/13/96 Baran Tr. 4; 12/10/96 Gingrich Tr. 5). The response prepared by Mr. Baran's firm became the letter from Mr. Gingrich to the Committee dated December 8, 1994.
According to Mr. Baran, he did not receive any indication from Mr. Gaylord or Mr. Gingrich that Mr. Baran was to do any kind of factual review in order to prepare the response. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 47-48). Mr. Baran and his staff did not seek or review documents other than those attached to the complaint of Mr. Jones and the Committee's October 31, 1994 letter to Mr. Gingrich and did not contact GOPAC, Kennesaw State College, or Reinhardt College. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 13, 15, 18). Mr. Baran did not recall speaking to Mr. Gingrich about the letter other than possibly over dinner on December 9, 1994 -- one day after the letter was signed by Mr. Gingrich. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 18, 33). Mr. Baran did contact Mr. Eisenach, but did not recall the "nature of the contact." (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 16). Mr. Eisenach said he had no record of ever having spoken to Mr. Baran about the letter and does not believe that he did so. (11/14/96 Eisenach Tr. 18-19, 22). The conversation he had with Mr. Baran concerned matters unrelated to the letter. (11/14/96 Eisenach Tr. 17-18). Mr. Eisenach also said that no one has ever given him a copy of the December 8, 1994 letter and asked him to verify its contents. (11/14/96 Eisenach Tr. 22).
The other attorney at Wiley, Rein and Fielding involved in preparing the response was Bruce Mehlman. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 19; 11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 17). He was a first-year associate who had been at Wiley, Rein and Fielding since September 1994. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 5). Mr. Mehlman's role was to create the first draft. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 15). The materials Mr. Mehlman had available to him to prepare the draft were:
1. correspondence between Mr. Gingrich and the Committee, including the October 4, 1994 letter;
2. course videotapes;
3. the book used in the course called "Renewing American Civilization;"
4. a course brochure;
5. the complaint filed by Ben Jones against Mr. Gingrich; and
6. documents produced pursuant to a Georgia Open Records Act request.
(11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 15-16, 20). Mr. Mehlman said that he did not attempt to gather any other documents because he did not see a need to go beyond these materials in order to prepare a response. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 19-20). With the exception of contacting his brother, who had taken the course, Mr. Mehlman did not make any inquiries of people regarding the facts of the matter. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 18). He did not, for example, contact GOPAC or Mr. Eisenach. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 28). After he completed his first draft, he gave it to Mr. Baran. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 22). He assumed that Mr. Baran would make sure that the any factual questions would have been answered to his satisfaction before the letter went out. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 51). However, Mr. Mehlman did not know what, if anything, Mr. Baran did with the draft after he gave it to him. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 22).
When Mr. Gaylord asked Mr. Baran to prepare the letter, it was Mr. Baran's understanding that Annette Thompson Meeks, an Administrative Assistant for Mr. Gingrich's office, would help. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 5, 7). According to Mr. Baran, Ms. Meeks' role was:
basically to take a draft product from us and review it for accuracy [from] her personal knowledge and basically make sure that it was acceptable. And in that regard, I believed that she may have spoken with other people to confirm that, but you will be talking to her, and you will have to confirm it with her. I tried to not talk to her about that.(11/13/96 Baran Tr. 10). Mr. Baran described the process for reviewing the letter as follows:
Well, you know, as a counsel who was retained relatively late in that process at that time and as someone who had no firsthand knowledge about any of the underlying activities and with a marching order of trying to prepare a draft that was usable by the staff, we were pretty much focused on getting something together and over to Annette Meeks so that it could be used. Verification was something that would have been available through those who had firsthand knowledge about these facts, who had reviewed the draft.(11/13/96 Baran Tr. 15). Mr. Baran did not, however, know whether the letter was reviewed by others to determine its accuracy. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 48).
Ms. Meeks said that at the time the letter was being prepared, she had no knowledge of whether:
1. the course was a political or partisan activity by design or application;
2. GOPAC was involved in the course;
3. GOPAC was benefited by the course;
4. GOPAC created, funded, or administered the course;
5. the idea to teach the course arose wholly independent of GOPAC;
6. Mr. Gingrich's motivation for teaching the course arose not as a politician but rather as a historian;
7. Mr. Eisenach resigned his position at GOPAC.
(11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 45-47). Ms. Meeks also said she was unaware that GOPAC's theme was Renewing American Civilization. (11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 88).
Ms. Meeks said she had no role in drafting the letter, did not talk to anyone to verify that the facts in the letter were accurate, and had no knowledge of how the facts in the letter were checked for accuracy. (11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 39, 48, 51). She did not indicate to Mr. Baran that she had given the letter to anyone for the purpose of checking its accuracy. (11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 87). In this regard, Ms. Meeks said:
I will be very frank and tell you I don't know how [Mr. Baran] composed this information as far as who he spoke with. I was not privy to any of that. The only thing I could add to my answer is that once counsel is retained, we were kind of out of the picture as far as the process, other than typing and transmitting.(11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 92). She said her role was to provide Mr. Baran with: background information about Mr. McCarthy (the Committee's counsel who had conferred with Mr. Gingrich about the course in 1993); a copy of the October 4, 1994 letter from Mr. Gingrich to the Committee; copies of papers relating to Mr. Hanser's employment with Mr. Gingrich's congressional office; and copies of the course videotapes. (11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 36-37).
Mr. Gaylord had a similar expectation in that, by retaining Wiley, Rein and Fielding, the firm was:
both protecting us and had done the proper and correct investigation in the preparation of the letters and that they, in fact, did their job because that's what they were paid to do. And I presumed that they had extracted the information from Dr. Eisenach and others who were involved specifically in the course.(11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 62). Mr. Gaylord, however, did not know what inquiry Mr. Baran made in order to prepare the letter. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 17).
After Mr. Baran sent Ms. Meeks a draft of the letter, Ms. Meeks re-typed the letter and sent the new version to Mr. Baran to verify that it was identical to what he had sent her. She then recalled faxing a copy to Mr. Gaylord and to Mr. Gingrich's executive assistant "to get Newt to take a look at it." (11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 43-44). Mr. Gingrich said about his review of the letter:
And I think in my head, I was presented a document -- I am not trying to blame anybody, or I am not trying to avoid this, I am trying to explain how it happened. I was presented a document and told, this is what we have collectively decided is an accurate statement of fact. I read the document, and it did not at any point leap out to me and say, boy, you had better modify paragraph 3, or that this phrase is too strong and too definitive. I think I read it one time, so that seems right to me, and I signed it.(11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 11). See also 11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 10 (at the time he read the letter, "nothing leaped out at [him] and said, 'this is wrong'") and 11/13/96 Gingrich Tr. 16 (the letter "seemed accurate" to him).
Mr. Gaylord did not recall whether he reviewed the letter prior to its being sent to the Committee. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 18). Mr. Gaylord said that the statement that GOPAC had no role in the administration of the course was incorrect. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 30-31). Mr. Gaylord said that the statement that GOPAC employees contributed time as private, civic-minded people was incorrect. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 31). Mr. Gaylord was not asked to verify the facts in the letters. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 20, 33).
2. Bases for Statements in the December 8, 1994 Letter
During their testimony, those involved in the creation of the letter were unable to explain the bases for many of the statements in the letter. Explanations were, however, given for the bases of some of the statements. A summary of those bases is set forth below.
1. [The course] was, by design and application, completely non-partisan. It was and remains about ideas, not politics. (Ex. 138, p. 2).
Mr. Baran said that the basis for this statement was his review of the course tapes and course materials. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 19). Mr. Mehlman said the following about his understanding of the basis of this statement:
Well, I don't specifically recall. If I had to assume, it would be some of the [Georgia Open Records Act] documents or some of the course materials that purport to be nonpartisan, or to have created a course that was nonpartisan, that certainly would explain design.(11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 24-25).
As far as in application, probably the reference made by my brother who had seen the course, who had participated in it, I suppose, and my general basic review of the initial writings about the course and viewing the first videotape of the course, suggested that the course was nonpartisan.
According to Mr. Baran, the letter to the College Republicans -- which was one of the attachments to the September 7, 1994 Jones complaint (Ex. 81) -- did not raise a question in his mind that the course was partisan or about politics. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 23).
2. "The idea to teach 'Renewing American Civilization' arose wholly independent of GOPAC, because the course, unlike the committee, is non-partisan and apolitical. My motivation for teaching these ideas arose not as a politician, but rather as a former educator and concerned American citizen . . . ." (Ex. 138, p. 4).
Mr. Baran said that the basis of this statement was a review of the course tapes and the belief that the course had originated from a January 25, 1993 speech Mr. Gingrich had given on the House floor. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 24-25). At the time the letter was drafted, Mr. Baran was unaware of Mr. Gingrich's December 1992 meeting with Owen Roberts where Mr. Gingrich first laid out his ideas for the Renewing American Civilization movement and course. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 25). Mr. Mehlman did not speak with Mr. Gingrich about his motivations for the course and did not know if Mr. Baran had spoken with Mr. Gingrich about his motivations for teaching the course. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 27).
3. "The fact is, 'Renewing American Civilization' and GOPAC have never had any official relationship." (Ex. 38, p. 4).
Mr. Baran said about this statement:
Well, I think the basis of [this] statement [was] essentially the characterizations that had been placed on the relationship between the course and GOPAC by people like Jeff Eisenach at that time, and it was consistent with my limited knowledge of GOPAC's association with the course at that time. . . .(11/13/96 Baran Tr. 36-37).
You know, the various materials, some of which we went through this morning, were items that came to my attention in the course of the document production, which commenced, I think, around April of this year and took quite a bit of time, or that came up in the course of your interviews with Mr. Gingrich.
* * *
Well, I think the basis is that these statements were being reviewed by people who would presumably be in a position to correct me if there [sic] was wrong.
When asked about the appearance of GOPAC fax cover sheets on documents pertaining to the course, Mr. Baran said that such faxes raised questions in his mind but that he "had an understanding at that time that those questions were addressed by an explanation that there were either incidental or inadvertent uses of GOPAC resources or there were uses of GOPAC resources that were accounted for by Mr. Eisenach." (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 21). Mr. Baran could not recall how he came to this understanding. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 21-22).
With respect to whether Mr. Baran knew that GOPAC was involved in raising funds for the course, Mr. Baran said:
At that time my recollection of quote, GOPAC being involved in fund-raising [unquote] was focused on Ms. Prochnow, the finance director who I don't know and have never met, but whose role was characterized, I believe, by Jeff Eisenach to me at some point, as having helped raise a couple of contributions, I think, Cracker Barrel was one of them, that is a name that sticks in my mind. But it was characterized as being sort of ancillary and just really not material.(11/13/96 Baran Tr. 41).
3. Creation of the March 27, 1995 Letter
In addition to the associate, Mr. Mehlman, who had worked with Mr. Baran in drafting Mr. Gingrich's December 8, 1994 letter to the Committee, another associate, Michael Toner, helped Mr. Baran draft what became the March 27, 1995 letter. (11/19/96 Toner Tr. 10-11). As with the December 8, 1994 letter, Mr. Baran did not receive any indication from Mr. Gaylord or Mr. Gingrich that Mr. Baran was to do any kind of factual review in order to prepare the March 27, 1995 letter. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 48). Mr. Baran did not recall contacting anyone outside the law firm for facts relevant to the preparation of the letter with respect to the course. He said that "the facts about the course, frankly, didn't seem to have changed any from the December period to the March period. And our focus seemed to be elsewhere." (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 28). Both Mr. Mehlman and Mr. Toner said that they did not contact anyone with knowledge of the facts at issue in order to prepare the letter. (11/19/96 Toner Tr. 21-22, 38; 11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 38).
Ms. Meeks said that she had no role in the preparation of the letter. (11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 50). She saw it for the first time one day prior to her testimony before the Subcommittee in November 1996. (11/14/96 Meeks Tr. 50). Mr. Eisenach said that he did not have any role in the preparation of the letter nor was he asked to review it prior to its submission to the Committee. (11/14/96 Eisenach Tr. 24-25). Mr. Gaylord said that he had no role in the preparation of the letter and did not provide any information that is in the letter. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 20). He also said that he did not discuss the letter with Mr. Gingrich or Mr. Baran at the time of its preparation. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 21). Mr. Gaylord said that he did not know where Baran obtained the facts for the letter. He "presumed" that Mr. Baran and his associates had gathered the facts. (11/14/96 Gaylord Tr. 21-22).
Mr. Baran said that his role in creating the letter was to meet with Mr. Mehlman and Mr. Toner, review the status of their research and drafting and review their drafts. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 28). Mr. Mehlman and Mr. Toner divided responsibility for drafting portions of the letter. (11/19/96 Toner Tr. 12-14; 11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 36, 37, 40). Mr. Baran also made edits to the letter. (11/19/96 Mehlman Tr. 40). During his interview, Mr. Toner stressed that there were many edits to the letter by Mr. Baran, Mr. Mehlman, and himself and he could, therefore, not explain who had drafted particular sentences in the letter. (see, e.g, 11/19/96 Toner Tr. 34).
After the letter was drafted, Mr. Baran said that Mr. Baran and his associates then "would have sent a draft that they felt comfortable with over to the Speaker's office." (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 28). Mr. Baran, Mr. Toner, and Mr. Mehlman each said during their testimony that they assumed that Mr. Gingrich or someone in his office reviewed the letter for accuracy before it was submitted to the Committee. (11/19/96 Toner Tr. 16, 40, 44; 11/13/96 Baran Tr. 32-33, 37-38; Mehlman Tr. 41). They, however, did not know whether Mr. Gingrich or anyone in his office with knowledge of the facts at issue ever actually reviewed the letter prior to its submission to the Committee. (11/19/96 Toner Tr. 17, 40, 44; 11/13/96 Baran Tr. 37-38; Mehlman Tr. 41).
With respect to Mr. Baran's understanding of whether Mr. Gingrich reviewed the letter, the following exchange occurred:
Mr. Cole: Did you have any discussions with Mr. Gingrich concerning this letter prior to it going to the committee?
Mr. Baran: I don't recall any. I just wanted to make sure that he did review it before it was submitted.
Mr. Cole: How did you determine that he had reviewed it?
Mr. Baran: I don't recall today, but I would not file anything until I had been assured by somebody that he had read it.
Mr. Cole: Would that assurance also have involved him reading it and not objecting to any of the facts that are asserted in the letter?
Mr. Baran: I don't know what his review process was regarding this letter.
Mr. Cole: If he just read it, you may still be awaiting comments from him. Would you have made sure that he had read it and approved it, or just the fact that he read it is all you would have been interested in, trying to make sure that we don't blur that distinction?
Mr. Baran: No, I would have wanted him to be comfortable with this on many levels.
Mr. Cole: And were you satisfied that he was comfortable with it prior to filing it with the committee?
Mr. Baran: Yes.
Mr. Cole: Do you know how you were satisfied?
Mr. Baran: I can't recall the basis upon which that happened.
(11/13/96 Baran Tr. 32-33).
4. Bases for Statements in the March 27, 1995 Letter
With respect to the bases for the statements in the letter in general, Mr. Baran said that it was largely based on the December 8, 1994 letter and any information he and his associates relied on to prepare it. (11/13/96 Baran Tr. 37-38).
Other Sections of the Gingrich Ethics Report
I. Introduction II. Summary of Facts Pertaining to American Citizens Television III. Summary of Facts Pertaining to "Renewing American Civilization" IV. Ethics Committee Approval of Course V. Legal Advice Sought and Received VI. Summary of the Report of the Subcommittee's Expert VII. Summary of Conclusions of Mr. Gingrich's Tax Counsel VIII. Summary of Facts Pertaining to Statements Made to the Committee IX. Analysis and Conclusion X. Summary of Facts Pertaining to Use of Unofficial Resources XI. Availability of Documents to Internal Revenue Service Appendix