Newt Gingrich's long-foundering presidential run is finally over, but the former House speaker's efforts to pay off his campaign debt are likely just beginning.
The Gingrich campaign, as of the last reporting period, owes $4.3 million to creditors, including pollsters, staffers, consultants, lawyers and event venues.
The campaign owes Moby Dick Airways, an air charter company, more than $1 million. Another $450,000 is owed to a security firm called Patriot Group. Tech darling Twitter is on the list for $12,700.
The total amount owed may already be dropping. Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told CNNMoney on Thursday that the campaign paid off around $500,000 in April, payments that won't show up until the next monthly Federal Election Commission filing.
It is common for campaigns to go into debt, but Gingrich has dug quite the hole. After all, his campaign raised just over $22 million while he was a candidate. Raising money now will be even harder. It is possible that some creditors won't be paid for years.
But there are plenty of ways to pay down the debt. As of March 31, the campaign had $1.2 million in cash on hand. Some of that might be paid to creditors. Mitt Romney, the party's presumptive nominee, might be persuaded to help Gingrich retire the debt, as President Obama helped Hillary Clinton do in 2008.
The campaign might also rent out its voter mailing lists to other candidates in exchange for a fee, a strategy that candidates have used in the past, including Clinton, who also auctioned time with her husband in order to retire campaign debt.
But the debt is likely to linger. According to its latest filing, the Clinton campaign is still in debt almost four years after closing up shop. At the end of March, the campaign owed research and consulting firm Penn, Schoen & Berland some $245,000.
Gingrich isn't the only 2012 candidate with bills to pay. Rick Santorum is almost $2 million in debt, but has $1.8 million in cash available. And Jon Huntsman has creditors, but around $4 million of his $5.5 million debt are loans from the candidate himself to the campaign.
Tim Pawlently, one of the first Republican contenders to drop out, has already paid off his debt. But he is lucky. It's more common for campaign debt to endure for years. Rudy Giuliani, the 2008 hopeful, still owes creditors $1.5 million, including $236,000 to Verizon Wireless and $107,000 to AT&T.
The 11% of Americans who still approve of Congress are sure to be disappointed by a new report that shows nepotism is running wild in the halls of the Capitol.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group, took a look at the 435-member House of Representatives and found 248 of them were engaged in activities that warranted inclusion in their report on how lawmakers are using their MORECharles Riley - Mar 22, 2012 10:43 AM ET
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is expected to release his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 on Tuesday, a rather highly anticipated event in Washington.
And Ryan is only adding to the tension, releasing a short video in which he is seen stalking down empty hallways and talking about the nation's debt problems.
Plus dramatic music!Charles Riley - Mar 16, 2012 11:49 AM ET
President Obama defended his energy policy on Thursday, and at the same time called out Republicans for promising lower gas prices while allegedly ignoring alternative sources of energy.
Without mentioning any of the candidates by name, Obama went so far as to suggest that the Republicans seeking the presidency are the kind of people who might deny that Earth is a sphere.
"A lot of the folks who are running for a MORECharles Riley - Mar 15, 2012 1:57 PM ET
Americans are rightfully annoyed about rising gas prices. But politicians are making matters worse. They are fueling (pun intended) the anger by constantly talking about how they will lower gas prices.
Newt Gingrich is the latest, with his promise for $2.50 a gallon gas. President Obama bemoaned the spike in gas prices in a speech Tuesday as well.
I wish whomever is occupying the White House next January good luck in lowering MOREPaul R. La Monica - Mar 6, 2012 2:23 PM ET
Exit polls in state after state have confirmed what has long been assumed: The economy is issue #1.
Asked to identify the most important issue to them, voters have consistently ranked the economy and the budget deficit as their top concerns.
And in almost every case, the voters then reward the candidate they think will handle that issue best with an electoral victory.
Now sure, data is limited to one political party, but MORECharles Riley - Feb 29, 2012 3:27 PM ET
Noam Scheiber, a senior editor at The New Republic, has a new book out about the Obama economic team.
Called "The Escape Artists," the book is long at 351 pages, but opens with a description of a meeting held at the Treasury Department in April, 2011 that was attended by Sec. Tim Geithner and analysts from credit rating agency Standard & Poor's.
Scheiber writes that in this meeting, held months before S&P's downgrade MORECharles Riley - Feb 29, 2012 10:46 AM ET
About a week after joining Pinterest, Ann Romney has more than 3,600 followers on the social networking site.
The wife of presidential candidate Mitt Romney is using the site to post pictures of her family, book recommendations and share patriotic recipes.
There's a photo of Mitt on a sled with his grandson (aw!) and a recommendation for "Anna Karenina," the 800+ page Tolstoy classic. If "Independence Punch" -- a concoction of cranberry MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Feb 28, 2012 10:53 AM ET
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