jueves, 22 de marzo de 2012

Gingrich, atenazado por las deudas

The Washington Post:
Newt Gingrich’s financial problems and his fourth-place finish in the Illinois primary Tuesday underscore his serious challenges going forward in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Gingrich’s campaign reported that it was $1.6 million in debt at the end of February, compared with $1.5 million it held in the bank, according to campaign filings released Tuesday night. At the end of 2011 and in January, Gingrich had more money in the bank than he had debt, but in the most recent report he was back in the red overall.

(...) Financial problems often propel candidates to drop out of the running, including former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who ended his GOP bid in debt. Pawlenty endorsed Romney, who went on to help his new surrogate pay down the debt. But a similar arrangement between Romney and Gingrich is unlikely, given the bitter ex­changes between the two.

Gingrich’s current debt is owed to a mix of campaign vendors and staff members. The biggest creditor is Campaign Fundraising Experts LLC, a Mesa, Ariz., firm that is owed $122,651.

The campaign appears to be paying off some vendors while accumulating debt to others. Gingrich paid off $200,000 of a $271,000 bill to Moby Dick airways for charter jet use. But the campaign incurred a $119,000 debt to the firm of his longtime lawyer, Randy Evans.

The campaign reported $3,840 in debt to Angel de la Portilla, an Orlando political consultant who ran the campaign’s Hispanic outreach in Florida. Portilla said in an interview that he sent an invoice to the campaign for $6,000 after the Florida primary Jan. 31. He followed up with a phone call at the beginning of this month, and staffers said it would take three more weeks to get paid. After sending an e-mail Monday, he was told checks would be cut Wednesday, he said.

Originally, “they told me it would take about 30 days,” de la Portilla said. “Obviously if it drags on longer, I’ll be concerned.”

One group of people who have not been paid quickly are the staff members who resigned from the Gingrich campaign in June. Former campaign manager Dave Carney’s firm is owed $20,617 and former spokesman Rick Tyler has been owed $1,667 since June.

Tyler went on to help found the Winning Our Future super PAC, which has spent $17 million to boost Gingrich. Tyler did not return a request for comment.

A former senior staff member said Gingrich may be staying in the race for personal reasons.

“I suspect he’s having a ball,” said the staff member, who commented on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. “Newt’s one of those guys where if he’s in the news it’s a good day, regardless of why he’s in the mix.”

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