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Gingrich Mattered in Past Fights

November 7, 1998

Rep. Newt Gingrich is the second House speaker to resign this decade. In May 1989, Texas Democrat Jim Wright resigned both his post as House speaker and his seat in Congress.

Wright’s resignation followed a yearlong inquiry, started when Gingrich, R-Ga., filed a formal complaint with the House ethics committee asking for an investigation to determine whether Wright violated House ethics rules.

The panel concluded Wright had skirted ethics rules by making bulk sales of a self-published book to labor unions and other sympathetic groups. He earned $54,642 in royalties from the book, ``Reflections of a Public Man.″

Other charges against Wright involved accepting improper gifts _ including a no-work job for his wife _ from a developer friend.

In April 1989, the ethics committee charged Wright with 69 violations of House rules of conduct.

Wright’s defense of the charges was aired on national television in May. His lawyers later that month broached the possibility of Wright resigning his leadership post in exchange for the dismissal of some of the ethics charges against him.

On May 31, 1989, Wright announced his decision on the House floor.

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