Scrambling to dig himself out of a $4.5 million hole, the former House speaker has resorted to renting his presidential campaign’s most valuable asset — its donor list — for as much as $26,000-a-pop. . . .
Campaign insiders attribute the problems partly to Gingrich and his wife Callista’s, asserting that the couple was unwilling to downgrade from private jets and security details even as the campaign floundered. Insiders say Callista Gingrich required an entourage of at least two staffers — including one who dressed in an elephant costume to promote her children’s book – and a contracted security guard who followed her even on non-campaign trips.
The scramble to retire debt comes as Newt Gingrich is loaning his campaign thousands of dollars to keep him out on the trail, and he’s eying an uncertain political and financial future, since “Newt, Inc.” — the network of companies and non-profits that made his fortune – has crumbled.
“They overspent to keep up the appearances of being a top-tier candidate,” asserted Greg Fournier, a Central Florida consultant who chaired Gingrich’s effort in Daytona Beach’s Volusia County. “If you have a campaign bus and you’re flying in on a chartered jet, but you do not have the money for that, you end up sacrificing your ground game,” he said. . . .
Through at least the end of January, though, the campaign was not infrequently paying Moby Dick for the use of a Boeing 737 jet with a cabin capacity that far exceeded the press interest in flying Air Newt. There were many empty seats — even on flights during pivotal stretches of the campaign, like his post-loss trips from Iowa to New Hampshire and from New Hampshire to South Carolina. At one point, Gingrich’s traveling press corps balked when the campaign informed journalists that it would cost more than $2,000-per-seat to fly to a single event, and the media boycott forced the campaign to foot the bill for the entire cost of the flight.
Gingrich has long had a taste for charter flights, paying Moby Dick more than $6.6 million before the presidential campaign through his non-profit political vehicle American Solutions for Winning the Future.