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In a statement his campaign issued when the Freddie Mac story surfaced last month, it said, “In addition, Freddie Mac was interested in advice on how to reach out to more conservatives.”

The Washington Post’s fact checker Glenn Kessler observed, “While Gingrich takes great pains to stress he was never registered as a lobbyist, he clearly appears to have provided advice on how to influence the thinking of conservative members of Congress.”

It is worth pointing out, as Bloomberg News has done, that Mr. Gingrich’s “primary contact inside the organization was Mitchell Delk, Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist.”

Mr. Gingrich, as an influential leader in Congress and now a private citizen, had become well known as a skilled idea man who offered a wide range of solutions to the nation’s problems, and people were willing to pay him big money to give them his best advice. There’s nothing wrong with that.

At the same time, he was handsomely profiting from Freddie Mac, a multibillion dollar government-sponsored enterprise, or GSE, that played a pivotal role in the costly subprime mortgage debacle, which sowed the seeds of the housing industry’s collapse and the Great Recession.

Freddie Mac was taken over by the government in 2008 and has received more than $151 billion in government bailout funds. It still retains an unlimited line of credit from taxpayers. Mr. Gingrich was on its payroll between 1999 and 2008.

Most conservatives have long believed that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae should be privatized and that the federal government shouldn’t be in the home mortgage business.

But in an interview April 24, 2007, for Freddie Mac’s website, Mr. Gingrich stoutly defended the GSEs and their work - just months before they declared bankruptcy.

“We have a much more liquid and stable housing finance system than we would have without the GSEs,” he said. “These are the results I think conservatives should embrace and want to extend as widely as possible.”

Thus, you have the ultimate irony of Mr. Gingrich attacking Mr. Romney, a businessman who was channeling investment capital into the private economy and creating jobs, while the former House speaker was advising and cheering a government-run enterprise that went bankrupt. And the taxpayers are footing the bill.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.