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Newt Gingrich puts donor list up for rent as his campaign flounders in debt

Newt Gingrich's campaign is $4.5 million in debt, and is renting out a list of its donors for as much as $26,000 to recover.

Newt Gingrich campaignEnlarge
A supporter of Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich holds a bumper sticker at a rally in Golden, Colorado. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Newt Gingrich's donor list is now up for rent, as the GOP candidate's campaign struggles to pay back its $4.5 million debt, Politico reported

The list of donors is arguably the Gingrich campaign's most valuable asset, according to Politico. 

"It’s a risky move for an active presidential campaign to give outsiders access to his best supporters and possibly donors who could be easily turned off — just as he says he’s trying to mount a comeback," wrote Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel and Ginger Gibson. "Diminishing his best asset looks more like a sign of surrender, rather than a genuine effort to challenge Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination." 

More from GlobalPost: Gingrich campaign check bounces in Utah; may cost him place on the ballot

How much does access to a presidential campaign's donor list cost, anyway? $135-per-thousand-names, or more if you want to target specific donor levels or geographic areas, Politico reported. The activist list can be rented for $50-per-thousand email addresses. The entire list could cost up to $26,000 a pop. 

According to insiders, Gingrich dug himself a hole with his attempts to keep up appearances as a first-tier candidate, traveling in private jets and keeping an entourage for his wife Callista, including a man in an elephant costume who helped promote her children's book, Slate reported. The campaign reportedly owes "several hundred thousand dollars" each to Moby Dick Airways and a security firm called the Patriot Group, according to Politico. 

Gingrich's campaigning has put him in a dire financial situation, causing him to shutter two businesses that generated $107 million in income during the last 10 years, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.  Last week, Gingrich's for-profit think tank The Center for Health Transformation filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Atlantic Wire reported. The center listed estimated liabilities of $1 million to $10 million dollars and 50 to 90 creditors, according to the Atlantic

More from GlobalPost: Newt Gingrich's think tank the Center for Health Transformation is bankrupt

In a particularly embarrassing indicator of the campaign's financial health, their $500 check for the filing fee in the June 26 Utah primary bounced, according to Bloomberg. 

Some speculate that the former house speaker has also limited his future employment opportunities with his behavior on the campaign trail, as Bloomberg pointed out. 

“Newt has somewhat become a caricature of himself, and that’s not very good for business or rebuilding your brand,” Mark Corallo, a Republican consultant, told Bloomberg. Corallo compared Gingrich to “a good TV sitcom that runs a little too long and becomes so predictable that nobody watches it anymore.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120413/newt-gingrich-rents-donor-list