Open Thread: Could Gingrich's Ties to Freddie Mac Hurt His Campaign?

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has been surging in national polls lately, many of which put him in first place for the Republican presidential nomination, slightly ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

However, like any other GOP candidate could tell you, the better you are polling, the more criticism you get. Gingrich is now being scrutinized for his ties to the widely disliked Freddie Mac, which paid a consulting firm run by Gingrich more than $1.6 million over seven years.

Do you think Gingrich's ties to Freddie Mac will hurt him? Read former lobbyist Jack Abramoff's opinion after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

After a year out of federal custody, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has entered into the political arena again with a new book and a reformed perspective on the way Washington works. Abramoff was critical of Gingrich, and believes his campaign will suffer a hit from the association with Freddie Mac.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about: people who came to Washington, who had public service, and they cash in on it. They use their public service and access to make money, and unfortunately Newt Gingrich is one of those who’s done it,” Abramoff said.

“I don’t know if he’ll survive this, to be honest with you,” Abramoff continued. “This is a very big thing. He is doing, he’s engaged in the exact kind of corruption that America disdains. The very things that anger the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement and everybody who is not in a movement and watches Washington and says why are these guys getting all this money, why do they go become so rich, why do they have these advantages? Unfortunately Newt seems to play right into it.”

The Wall Street Journal explained that Gingrich's campaign emphasized that Gingrich never lobbied Congress on behalf of Freddie Mac. 

Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, was hired by Freddie Mac for two stretches after leaving Congress, beginning in 1999 and again in 2006, during periods when the housing-finance company faced growing threats from policy makers who wanted to clips its wings, people familiar with events said. [...]

Mr. Gingrich's campaign said the former House speaker didn't lobby Congress on behalf of Freddie Mac. "I was approached to offer strategic advice," Mr. Gingrich told reporters on the campaign trail in Urbandale, Iowa. "I was glad to offer strategic advice, and we did it for a number of companies, and Gingrich Group was very successful."

What do you think of Gingrich's ties to Freddie Mac?

2012 Presidential Campaigns & Elections Open Thread Newt Gingrich