Newt Gingrich is set to announce his presidential campaign via Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday. That could mean a change — or an end — to his involvement in the plethora of organizations he’s affiliated with, collectively known as Newt Inc.
It doesn’t mean an end to those organizations altogether — it just means they wouldn’t be picking up Gingrich’s private jet tab anytime soon.
“Once he declares, the free charter plane rides are more or less over,” a longtime campaign lawyer told TPM. “They are all corporations, so they can’t do anything that would subsidize the campaign.”
In theory, American Solutions could pick up Gingrich’s airfare for events that weren’t related to his presidential campaign, but another campaign lawyer said there’s only “a tiny bit of wiggle room.”
Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s spokesman, told TPM in an email he didn’t have time for an interview, but said that “each of the organizations will continue.”
Dan Kotman, spokesman for Gingrich’s main advocacy group American Solutions for Winning the Future, said they would “release details about how American Solutions plans to aggressively move forward after Speaker Gingrich makes his formal announcement. Stay tuned.”
As the Wall Street Journal reports, Gingrich’s campaign could get a boost off of the donor contact lists he’s already amassed at the other organizations.
His network has amassed more than 1.7 million voter and donor contacts and raised $32 million between 2009 and 2010—more than all his potential 2012 rivals combined.
The campaign will also have to rent the e-mail lists and pay fair market value. “If they don’t pay FMV count on a FEC complaint,” said one election lawyer.
Once he formally declares, Gingrich has two choices — he could disassociate himself with the organizations or turn one of them into his leadership PAC. But that would make the groups subject to the FEC’s rules on spending and raising money.
“If they’re affiliated with him as leadership PACs, than they couldn’t raise or spend non-federal corporate money anymore,” another campaign lawyer said.