Newt Gingrich Finishing Campaign on 'Drunken Sailor' Spending Spree

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: May 1, 2012 3:55 AM
Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

As Newt Gingrich prepares to wave the white flag of surrender, at least one campaign staffer confirms the former speaker of the House "spent like a drunken sailor" during the last two months of his presidential campaign -- even outspending Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.

"Ever since the beginning of March the speaker hasn't seemed bothered by how much it cost us to travel around, as long as we were making a statement," said the longtime campaign aide on Monday. "He likes to make a splash."

The aide, who asked to remain anonymous, told Sunshine State News in a telephone interview that Gingrich "looks and sounds tired, but it seems the further behind he gets, the more he says 'the heck with it,' about spending money. It's been a wild end of the ride."

Records show that in March alone, the Gingrich campaign spent $1.6 million on travel -- $1.1 million for chartered planes, $62,000 for use of a bus and $16,000 for hotels. Add to that $200,000 for cash reimbursements to staff, plus $271,000 to Gingrich personally for travel reimbursement -- but according to a story in last Thursday's Washington Times, "the campaign has refused to specify what those payments cover."

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, spent $1.1 million on travel in March, though he had twice as many on his campaign staff as Gingrich.

Is Gingrich profiting from his campaign funds? Some watchdogs say he's treading a fine line.

Paul S. Ryan, a lawyer at the nonprofit, nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center, told reporters, “Hopefully, the Federal Election Commission will do its job and, to the extent red flags are raised by these extraordinarily high travel fees, investigate."

More question-worthy than travel is Gingrich's expenditure on security. Records show that since Jan. 1, the speaker has forked out $716,000 for security. Romney, on the other hand, spent a little more than half of that at $319,000; campaign dropout Rick Santorum, $120,000; and Ron Paul, who strongly believes paying for security staff is "all hooey," paid a total of $42,000.

Said Gingrich's aide, "The speaker believes in hiring a number of different companies to keep him safe." She confirmed that he had more than three security "vendors."

Records show Gingrich's campaign was $4.3 million in debt as of March 31. The campaign owes its largest debt, about $1 million, to private charter plane company Moby Dick Airways Ltd.

His aide confirmed that he will officially quit Wednesday and endorse Romney. She said she doesn't know what his plans are after that.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859

Comments (1)

William in Tampa
11:16AM MAY 1ST 2012
Makes me glad that I pulled away from him in 2012 - he's turned out to be pretty much a low-life with a good line of BS.

Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out....

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