There seems to be a very persistent belief in some Republican and conservative circles that Nancy Pelosi is in possession of secret and damning information about Newt Gingrich that would immediately cause his presidential campaign to implode if she leaked it.
There is no such information. The whole thing is pure fantasy.
The latest to grab onto this conspiracy theory is Mitt Romney. To explain this clearly, a recap is in order.
A little while ago, Pelosi said in an interview that she was familiar with “a thousand pages” of documents related to the ethics probe of Gingrich that got him bounced from Congress. That triggered the first round of right-wing consipracy-mongering; her office quickly cleared up that all those documents are already public. They’re online right here.
Undaunted, Romney picked up this line the other day, calling on Gingrich to “release” the probe. Many news outlets pointed it out again: The probe is already public.
Yesterday, Pelosi told CNN in an offhand comment that Gingrich will never be president, because “there’s something that I know.” Drudge madly flacked this “revelation“ with a massive headline claiming: “PELOSI THREAT: NEWT WON’T BE PRESIDENT.”
Romney today grabbed on to this one, too. Undaunted by the fact that the probe is already public, he went further still, calling for the release of “all of the records that were part of the ethics investigation, all of the transcripts.” It’s unclear whether such records exist, but as Jed Lewison notes, Pelosi plainly didn’t mean anything secretive with her comments to CNN. While her wording was clumsy, the notion that she’s in possession of any secret info about Newt is just daft.
Indeed, Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill confirms to me that she was just stating her belief that Gingrich will never be elected. “The ‘something’ Leader Pelosi knows is that Newt Gingrich will not be President of the United States,” Hammill says.
Come on now: The ethics probe of Gingrich is public information. Pelosi is not harboring any secret information that could destroy him or any other Republicans. As transfixing as the fantasy of an evil and all-powerful Pelosi may be, this is just that — a fantasy.
UPDATE: Pelosi herself clears this all up. Here’s her quote, emailed to me by her office:
“Any reference I would make to the Ethics Committee is confined to the public record.”