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Gingrich to Romney on call to release ethics investigation documents: ‘Give me a break’

Chris Moody, Yahoo News
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Newt Gingrich speaks in Orangeburg, S.C., Friday (AP)

ORANGEBURG, S.C. -- A defiant Newt Gingrich said he would not release documents from a congressional ethics investigation leveled against him in the 1990s, responding to a call from Mitt Romney to make the information public.

"I refuse to take seriously any request from the Romney campaign to disclose anything," Gingrich told reporters here after a campaign event Friday. "Give me a break."

Earlier that day, Romney called on Gingrich to release documents related to a House investigation while he was Speaker. Most of the charges were dropped, but Gingrich was forced to pay $300,000 in fines.

Gingrich said Romney should read the 1,280 documents already made public about the investigation first, and took the opportunity to blast his rival again for not releasing his personal income tax returns. Gingrich made his own 2010 filings public Thursday night.

"He's even confused as to whether or not he will ever release anything, and then they decide to pick a fight about releasing stuff?" Gingrich said. "He could have today released his tax records so the voters of South Carolina could discover something."

For months, Romney has been under pressure to release his personal income tax returns. Romney has said he will wait until April to release his documents, if he becomes the Republican nominee.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said that the tax returns released Thursday would be the last personal documents the campaign makes public until Romney unveils his own.

"We will release everything that Mitt Romney releases," Hammond said. "If he shows a little leg, we'll show a little leg."

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