ABC News reports that a non-profit group founded by Newt Gingrich spent $220,000 over two years, apparently to buy up DVDs and books from the for-profit Gingrich Productions:
“The spirit of operating a non-profit organization is to work for the public good regardless of the politics that are involved,” said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, in an interview with ABC News. “I believe it violates that spirit.”
Asked about the allegations this morning prior to a speech in New Hampshire, Gingrich urged an ABC News reporter to focus on his speech.
“I’m not concerned about that. The American people aren’t concerned about that. Try covering the speech,” Gingrich said as he left a campaign event. When the reporter tried to follow up, Gingrich got in his waiting car and slammed the door.
While such transactions may have violated the “spirit” of the law, it is unclear whether they violated its letter. But these “related party transactions” were not declared in the charity’s tax forms, and were originally discovered by an audit performed by the state of West Virginia. Before he resigned, Rick Tyler apparently told ABC News that he was the recipient of the $220,000 in question, in the form of salary paid to run the non-profit before he signed on to Gingrich’s presidential bid.