Newt Gingrich’s wife, Marianne may come back to haunt him. Not because he allegedly asked her for an open marriage, but because she was investigated by the FBI for trying to get a $10 million bribe for having Newt help an arms dealer nicknamed “The Merchant Of Death.”
Marianne Gingrich, who Newt Gingrich called “my best friend and closest adviser,” met with notorious arms dealer, Sarkis Soghanalian in Paris in 1995. Later her aides would claim that they could use Newt to help Soghanalian lift an arms embargo on Iraq so he could collect an $80 million deb according to an FBI document, if she was given a $10 million bribe.
The Washington Post reports:
Soghanalian, a convicted felon who is now dead, said he wanted the speaker’s help in getting the arms embargo lifted so he could collect an $80 million debt from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to an FBI document filed to obtain continuing wiretap authorization for the case. The facts in the document were “developed through a cooperating witness,” whom The Washington Post has confirmed was Soghanalian.
Soghanalian said Marianne Gingrich assured him “she would be able to do anything [Soghanalian] requested of her ‘as long as they had an understanding,’ ” the document states.
Several months after the meeting in Paris, a man who had been on the trip with Gingrich and Soghanalian told the arms dealer that the embargo could be lifted for the right price. In conversations recorded by Soghanalian, the man, a Miami car salesman named Morty Bennett, stated that Marianne “wanted 10 million dollars to get the job done, five million of which would go directly to Marianne Gingrich,” the document states.
The FBI document states that Soghanalian, Marianne Gingrich, Ash and Bennett spent several days together in Paris. Gingrich said “her relationship with her husband was purely a relationship of convenience,” the document states. “She told [Soghanalian] that she needed her husband for economic reasons, and that he needed to keep her close because she knew of all his ‘skeletons.’ ”
“She also told [Soghanalian], ‘It’s time for me to make money using my husband, and after we get started doing this, it will be easy,” the document says.
In January 1996, the document states, Soghanalian said he received a call from Bennett, who said he was acting on behalf of Marianne Gingrich and asked for $10 million to get the embargo lifted. Bennett wanted more than $1 million in advance, $300,000 in cash. The rest of the money was to be wired into Bennett’s bank account so that it could be transferred to the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, an Israeli-based think tank with offices in Washington where Ash was a fundraiser, according to the document.
While Newt Gingrich himself was never investigated, what does it say about his ethics, if his wife believed that she could have him fight to help an arms dealer nicknamed “The Merchant Of Death” remove an arms embargo on Iraq and Saddam Hussein after being bribed. While the media may be more concerned with his request for an open marriage, the fact that Newt’s wife and closest advisor was investigated for requesting a bribe for her husband’s services from a known arms dealer should be re-investigated.
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