The Wall Street Journal has a humdinger of an editorial catching Newt Gingrich touting ethanol. His spokesman is also quoted denouncing, "rampant speculation in the commodities markets." The subheadline at WSJ.com describes Mr. Gingrich as an "Ethanol lobbyist." Mr. Gingrich is not registered with the Senate as a lobbyist for any ethanol interest, so it's not a great headline — a lobbyist doesn't mean the same thing, exactly, as a proponent.
The editorial does say that Mr. Gingrich gave a keynote speech to the Renewable Fuels Association, though it does not say whether Mr. Gingrich was paid for the speech or, if he was, how much.
In any event my guess is that Mr. Gingrich's ethanol advocacy has less to do with any speaking fee he received from the Renewable Fuels Association and more to do with his hopes of wooing caucus participants in Iowa as part of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination process. Another Republican GOP contender, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, is also an ethanol proponent, and I've heard him, like Mr. Gingrich, dismiss the argument that ethanol makes food more expensive and causes famines.
It all strengthens the case for letting consumers and markets and investors rather than politicians or bureaucrats make energy choices. If Mr. Gingrich or Mr. Daniels think ethanol is so swell, let them buy stock in ADM or use the stuff to fuel their motorcycles. But please don't tax the rest of us to subsidize it, or force us to put it in our cars.