In brief, David Bonior brought 75 ethics charges against Newt, 74 which were found to have no merit whatsoever (and people say that Ken Starr is on a "witch hunt?"). The last charge, whether Newt funded his college class "Renewing American Civilization" properly, was too complicated a tax issue for the committee to investigate on its own, so they brought in an outside tax expert to investigate. Two charges arose out of this investigation.
The first 'charge' from the ethics committee is that he "may have" violated tax law by using tax-deductible contributions from nonprofit organizations to teach an allegedly partisan college course.
The second 'charge' from the committee is that, in the course of the investigation, Newt provided false information to the committee. And what was this "false information?" Newt testified that the above contributions were in fact made by those organizations to "Renewing American Civilization." He filed papers that stated the very same thing. This is never a fact that anyone was trying to hide. But one paper filed with the committee stated that those groups did not make the contributions. For this, there was an uproar about Newt's ethics, and he was fined.
Basically, Newt was fined $300,000 because he didn't read his lawyers' documents carefully. I could really get into the hypocrisy of this in light of the fact that people want to excuse Bill Clinton for lying under oath, (maybe if the course Newt had taught was about SEX the Democrats would feel differently) but that's not the point of this article.
Well, after a 3.5 year probe, after Newt paid the $300,000 fine, the IRS announced on February 3, 1999, that it found NO IMPROPRIETIES IN THE TAX FILINGS of Gingrich and the sponsoring Progress and Freedom Foundation. The IRS said the principles taught in the course were not of use only in political campaigns. "The ... course taught principles from American civilization that could be used by each American in everyday life whether the person is a welfare recipient, the head of a large corporation, or a politician."
Well isn't that nice - and isn't that what Newt had been saying all along?
In other words, the ethics charges David Bonior filed against Newt were ALL bogus. Every single one of them. In the end, what was Newt's "ethics problems"? One of the papers filed by his lawyers had an error and Newt didn't catch it. That little oversight cost $300,000.
Newt Gingrich Cleared - Now How About a Refund?