A Few of His Closest Friends

Newt Gingrich must be a very busy man these days. His fund-raising group is selling his personal time to every listing in the Yellow Pages. Who, I wonder, has not been invited to get close to him for a mere few thousand dollars?

But he’s got standards. That’s why he rescinded the invitation he sent to Alison Vivas, when he found out she ran a porn business. (Love for Sale From Politicians).

And his 527 organization has done it again, disinviting the owner of a strip club from the awards dinner she’d paid $5,000 to attend.

Dawn Rizos didn’t need any formal recognition that The Lodge, one of the best-known gentlemen’s clubs in Dallas, was a successful small business.

But when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s conservative group named her an “Entrepreneur of the Year,” she was thrilled by the opportunity to accept the award in Washington and speak about ways to help small businesses.

That all changed, however, when Gingrich realized that The Lodge was a topless bar, not some other business in Virginia. He rescinded Rizos’ invitation to a private dinner and returned the $5,000 donation she made to his group, American Solutions for Winning the Future.

“It was disappointing,” Rizos said. “We were looking forward to sharing our political views with Newt Gingrich.”

Actually, that is so rude to invite, then disinvite someone. And they did it twice. What would Miss Manners say?

Clearly Gingrich is using an organization that does a lousy job of checking out who they beg money from. They must send out tens of thousands of special personal honors and have Newt running from banquet to banquet to greet his new best friends. Funny that he doesn’t have more empathy for people who sell their charm.

Campaign finance reform is a hard sell, because all the people who managed to get elected were able to take advantage of every possible loophole. With so much else going on, this is not the most pressing issue. But the future calls. Though it’s too late to make an honest man out of Newt, we have to do it for the children.

Update– I might have been too easy on Newt. Daily Kos has specifics on how Gingrich and some of his Republican allies flood the professional world with honors and invitations, sometimes mistaken by the recipients as something other than a mass mailing fundraising tool. I have to say that I’m hurt that they’ve neglected to name me ‘nurse of the year’ and they’ll pay for it at the voting booth.

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