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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a DC-based watchdog group, has filed a FOIA request for “documents turned over by the House Ethics Committee in regard to its investigation of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich” back in the 1990s.

Last year, Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi caused a stir when she told TPM of the thousands of pages of documents she reviewed as part of the panel investigating Gingrich, and said details of the investigation would emerge if Gingrich became the GOP presidential nominee. Pelosi later said she was referring to the publicly-available report from the ethics committee, but the Romney campaign has jumped on the line, calling for the full release of all documents related to the investigation.

CREW is now joining in the fray, calling for the Dept. of Justice and the IRS to release their records on the inquiry “centered on Mr. Gingrich’s use of tax-exempt organizations for political purposes and he was ultimately sanctioned for making false statements to Congress.”

Read the CREW FOIA request here.

A new survey of Minnesota from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Newt Gingrich with a big lead in this state’s caucuses, which will be held on February 7. And what is more, A Gingrich win here could potentially embarrass Romney very much.

The numbers: Gingrich 36%, Romney 18%, Santorum 17%, and Paul 13%. The survey of likely caucus-goers was conducted from January 21-22, and has a ±5.6% margin of error.

Romney actually won the Minnesota caucuses in 2008, which were held on the February 5 Super Tuesday event of that year. In that cycle, Romney had emerged as the conservative alternative to frontrunner John McCain, with Romney winning the state by a nearly 2-1 margin of 41%-22%.

But this time around, Gingrich has emerged as the conservative alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Rick Santorum has decided to release his tax returns as well, reports The Hill. And he will release them when they are ready.



"Frankly, I've got to get home because everyone's asking for my tax returns," Santorum told CNN. "I got to get home and I got to get these tax returns so everybody gets what they've been asking for."

Appearing on Fox News, Mitt Romney drew a new distinction between himself and Newt Gingrich. Romney said that he was willing to tackle President Obama and even his Republican opponents head-on, whereas Newt focused his ire on easy targets.



"It's very easy to talk down a moderator. The moderator asks a question and then has to sit by and take whatever you send to them. And Speaker Gingrich has been wonderful at attacking the moderators and attacking the media. That's always a favorite response for the home crowd but it's very different to have candidates go against candidates, and that's something I'll be doing against President Obama if I get the chance to be our nominee."






On a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Romney-surrogate Sen. John McCain acknowledged that campaign finance and McCain-Feingold was an area in which he and Mitt Romney disagreed. Though McCain defended his endorsement saying that this wasn’t as important an issue right now as jobs, he went on to decry the Citizens United decision that lead to the creation of super PACs as a “shame.”

“I predict a scandal in connection to the Citizens United decision,” McCain said on the call. He then took aim at casino mogul Sheldon Adelson who has donated $10 million to Gingrich’s campaign: “One family putting $10 million into a single race. That’s not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.”

It's on.

The first snap polls out of Florida, after South Carolina's primary, showed a huge surge for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as he rocketed past former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with sizeable but single digit leads. But two polls released Tuesday showed the race to be neck and neck, and new Quinnipiac numbers out Wednesday morning also seem to show show the race stabilizing ahead of the January 31st primary. Quinnipiac finds Romney with a two point lead over Gingrich 36 - 34, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gets 13 percent and 10 percent go to Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

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The Romney campaign has recently been resurfacing a story from December when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi briefly made it sound like she was privy to confidential information prejudicial to Newt Gingrich which came out of her time on the House Ethics Committee. That led to Romney’s call for Gingrich to release all of the material he provided to the committee and not to hold that their publicly available report on him is the end of the matter.

Pelosi stirred the pot again in an interview with CNN that aired last night. Romney’s camp sent out an email this morning titled, “Nancy On Newt: There Is Something I Know.”

It highlighted the following exchange from the CNN interview:



CNN’s JOHN KING: “Because of your history with Speaker Gingrich, what goes through your mind when you think of the possibility, which is more real today than it was a week or a month ago, that he would be the Republican nominee and that you could come back here next January or next February with a President Gingrich?” PELOSI: “Let me just say this. That will never happen.” … KING: “Why are you so sure?” PELOSI: “There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that's their prerogative.”


Romney addressed the issue in an interview with Fox News this morning, in which he said “I wish I knew” what that “something” that Pelosi knows is. “I’d release it right now,” he laughed.



A judge in Madison, Wisconsin, has granted state election officials a widely-expected extension on the time to review and certify the recall petitions against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state Senators.

The Associated Press reports: “Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess says the board faces an unprecedented task and deserves more time to do its work.”

The signatures total up to over 1.9 million signatures. By state law, the board ordinarily has 31 days to review the petitions, which were turned in last Tuesday. The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, has long planned to seek an extension, after having previously obtained one for last year’s round of state Senate recalls.

However, the GAB has also said it will need even more time beyond the original expectations, after a judge in conservative Waukesha County ruled that the GAB must make a greater effort to screen out fake or duplicate petition signatures — rather than abide by the pre-existing rules, which had placed the burden mainly on the elected officials targeted for recall.

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