Gingrich: Freddie Mac Paid His Consulting Firm Up to $1.8M for 'Strategic Advice'

By THOMAS BEAUMONT | November 16, 2011 | 11:00 AM EST

URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has acknowledged receiving personal compensation from Freddie Mac, the federally backed housing agency, but says he doesn't know exactly how much he was paid.

The former House speaker left open the possibility that his consulting firm received between $1.6 million and $1.8 million. Gingrich says he received a portion of that for providing "strategic advice for a long period of time" after he left Congress.

That amount is significantly higher than the $300,000 figure Gingrich was questioned about last week.

Gingrich spoke with reporters in Iowa on Wednesday. He defended Freddie Mac's role and said every American should be interested in expanding housing opportunities. The federally backed mortgage lender has become a focal point of anti-government sentiment because of the housing crisis.