WASHINGTON ― The Federal Election Commission won’t let Newt Gingrich off the hook for his costly 2012 campaign for president.
The former speaker of the House and runner-up for Donald Trump’s VP made his deadbeat intentions official on Aug. 1 when he filed a debt settlement plan that proposed repaying none of the money he owed. The FEC rejected this plan in a letter to the campaign committee dated Sunday.
The letter from the chief federal election finance regulator states that Gingrich’s plan to not pay his creditors “does not meet the requirements” under the applicable federal election law. Further, the committee “may not terminate based on this [debt settlement plan] filing because it contains no debt settlement agreements and must continue to file all required reports.”
Newt 2012 racked up a staggering $4.6 million in debt to 114 creditors, among them many small businesses that made TV spots and yard signs. Several business owners told The Huffington Post in 2015 that they’d given up hope of ever getting paid.
Gingrich’s rejected debt settlement plan is the result of a 2011 complaint filed by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The complaint alleged Gingrich commingled campaign funds with corporate money in a company operated by him and his wife, Callista.
FEC investigators found reason to believe a violation had been committed, but the FEC commissioners divided on ideological lines in a 3-3 vote on whether to sanction Gingrich’s committee. They did state that for Gingrich to terminate the committee, he would have to go through the official debt settlement plan procedures.
Gingrich has not responded to requests left with staffers of his production company, Gingrich Productions.