The Price of Newt Gingrich’s Ambition

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5438140228/sizes/z/in/photostream/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr

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In 1976, fresh off his second failed congressional bid, Newt Gingrich did what any reasonable man in his shoes would have done: He decided that he would run for president, tentatively scheduling his future campaign for 2000 or 2004. “We were all discussing the timing, his age, working out the one-term and two-term presidencies in between,” someone close to the then-political novice told Vanity Fair two decades later, shortly after Gingrich had ascended to the position of speaker of the House. “I think the plan is still going. I think he will be president.”

Gingrich may have missed his deadline by eight to 12 years, but finally he has realized his plan—well, the campaign side of it, anyway. Along the way, he and his supporters have spent tens of millions in the quest to cement his status in the annals of American political legends. Here’s a look at how much money Gingrich and his affiliated political groups (once known as “Newt Inc.”) have gone through since the late ’80s:

1987-1994: Friends of Newt Gingrich (congressional campaign committee): $6.3 million

1994-1995: GOPAC: $15 million (raised, estimated)

1997-1998: Friends of Newt Gingrich: $7.6 million

1995-1998: Monday Morning PAC: $3.1 million

1997-2000: Friends of Newt Gingrich PAC: $1.6 million

2006-2010: American Solutions for Winning the Future (527): $51.4 million

2009-2012: American Solutions PAC: $794,000

2011-2012: Newt 2012 (presidential campaign committee): $2.5 million

2011-2012: Strong America Now (super-PAC): $125,000

2011-2012: Winning Our Future (super-PAC): $4.2 million

TOTAL, 1987-2012: $92.6 million

That comes out to more than $3.6 million raised or spent annually, on average, since 1987. Which, depending how you look at it, isn’t a lot to spend on one’s presidential ambitions—or a whole lot to spend on a dream that now looks all but doomed. (Numbers based on data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, the New York Times, and my colleague Tim Murphy’s roundup of Gingrich’s shady ’90s fundraising operation.)

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

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