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On his financial disclosure form for 1987, Gingrich reported that he and his wife each earned royalties from the publisher of $5,000 to $15,000 that year. The Congressman earned another $26,000 in honorariums for speeches that year, but he donated about $4,000 to charity in keeping with the limits on outside income that were in place at the time. In 1990, Gingrich earned $61,000 in honorariums — Congressional salaries were then about $97,000 — but was required by House rules to donate about $40,000 of his speaking fees to charity.
By the late 1990s, Gingrich was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in book royalties on top of his Congressional salary. In 1995, when he became Speaker, his Congressional salary rose to $171,500, and his disclosure form for that year showed an array of other financial interests.
Gingrich reported earning $479,000 in book royalties and $2,000 for speaking to the Association of American Medical Colleges. He and his wife had several investment accounts and a savings account at South Trust Bank worth $100,000 to $250,000. At the end of the year, Marianne bought another money market account worth more than $100,000. As Speaker, Gingrich also was receiving a monthly check of just more than $2,000 to defray the costs of “leadership official expenses.”
In all, Gingrich’s income that year was about $675,000.
Gingrich had become a prosperous man during his time in Congress, but by the time he left in 1998, he was not a financial titan. His last financial disclosure form listed assets worth no more than $606,000, and he had a number of financial burdens dragging him down, including a $300,000 penalty assessed against him by the House Ethics Committee for an improper book deal and a second divorce on the way.
But as a former Speaker still considered a leading intellectual of the right, Gingrich proceeded to build an empire as a paid public thinker. The Washington Post reported last week that Gingrich’s web of enterprises ranging from a health care think tank to a documentary production company “generated close to $100 million in revenue over the past decade.”
The financial disclosure form Gingrich filed this summer as a presidential candidate reflects that prosperity.
The former Congressman now lists assets worth a minimum of $7.3 million — which does not include homes or other non-income-producing property — and millions more in income. His dividends from Gingrich Productions for the year before becoming a presidential candidate were just shy of $2.5 million, and his family-run talent agency paid him another $72,000. He reports no liabilities.
Laura Barron-Lopez contributed to this report.