Questions surrounding Newt Gingrich’s consulting work for Freddie Mac will, if his campaign has anything to do with it, remain under wraps.

Gingrich, in Iowa Wednesday, defended his role in the troubled federally-backed housing agency that paid him as much as $1.8 million for consulting work.

He told reporters that he would release as many documents as possible.

But late this afternoon Gingrich’s campaign simply released a list of facts they wanted to reiterate. Spokesman R.C. Hammond said: “This is it” when asked when the public could expect the documents Gingrich had earlier said he would try to provide.

“This,” in this case, was a statement reiterating the campaign line from the last few days. There were no materials documenting Gingrich’s work with the troubled mortgage giant.

As a rule, when a candidate vows to release specific documents, and then the campaign refuses to release those documents, it’s not a good sign.

Keep in mind, as reader H.W. reminded me last night, Gingrich argued in a debate last month that “if you want to put people in jail,” he’s inclined to start with those who were “close to” lobbyists “at Freddie Mac.”


On a related note, Gingrich boasted on Fox News this week that he’d bring an “outsider’s viewpoint” to Washington.

For the record, Gingrich was elected to Congress in the late 1970s, worked his way up to Speaker of the House, has lived inside the D.C. beltway for decades, located his businesses in D.C., has a home in one of D.C.’s wealthiest suburbs, and has appeared in D.C. media as a talking head on a nearly daily basis for years.

When ol’ Newt maintained a six-figure line of credit at Tiffany’s, it wasn’t at one of the upscale chain’s outside-the-beltway locations.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.