Only after the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker reported the allegations was the truth discovered. A day later, the recovered tax form exonerated the organization. Just as its annual report for 1996 showed, Reading for Dollars used 70 percent of its budget to pay children, and the rest for overhead. The group's auditor also worked on Gingrich's re-election campaign, but he was well known for his charity work, and kept books for Reading for Dollars for no pay. The caviar and champagne were paid for by William McConnor of McConnor Buick in Tampa.
Reading for Dollars failed, but because of Gingrich's lack of imagination, not his sleaziness. It turns out the children had no interest in reading The Contract With America, or Creating a New Civilization. Now the group will hire authors to write more suitable books. Titles in progress include Harriet the Spy Uncovers the Tax Scam and Visions of a Teenage Entrepreneur.
As for the dinosaur bone, it turns out it was planted on the roadside by Republican donors in Montana who felt sorry for Gingrich and wanted him to realize his archaeological fantasy. The bone is also a phony.
Hanna Rosin is a senior editor at the New Republic.
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