Gingrich committee again targeted by FEC

But Newt 2012 previously ignored threats from slow-moving federal agency

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The Federal Election Commission is again threatening Newt Gingrich's presidential committee with legal trouble, saying the former U.S. House speaker's 2012 campaign is flouting federal law by failing to disclose numerous details about its finances.

In separate letters Wednesday to the Newt 2012, the FEC's Senior Campaign Finance and Reviewing Analyst Jill Sugarman cites 11 disclosure deficiencies she says the committee must correct by Oct. 9.

"Failure to adequately respond ... could result in an audit or enforcement action," Sugarman writes.

Among the wrongs the FEC says Gingrich's campaign must right:

  • Explain why a recent disclosure report "omits debts itemized" on previous reports
     
  • Provide more information about a credit to the South Carolina Republican Party for a debt the committee owes it
     
  • Detail the nature of disputed debts owed to various campaign vendors
     
  • Balance its books. "Your report discloses debts with outstanding beginning balances that do not equal the corresponding closing balances of your previous report ... These amounts should be the same," the FEC writes.

Newt 2012 treasurer Lisa Lisker and Gingrich's Committee for America — a joint fundraising committee composed of Newt 2012 and the American Legacy Political Action Committee — did not respond to inquiries from the Center for Public Integrity.

This is hardly the first go-around between Newt 2012 and the FEC, which has been badgering Gingrich's debt-ridden committee about disclosure matters for months.

But the FEC has yet to fine or otherwise take enforcement action against Gingrich's operation, according to federal records. 

Lisker, for her part, has ignored much of the FEC's previous disclosure pressure.

Last year, for example, she told the commission that Newt 2012 wouldn't comply with the agency's requests to fully detail cash reimbursements it provided staffers, including Gingrich himself.

"The Committee has reviewed all reimbursements to individuals for other than travel and subsistence and confirms that no further itemization is required under any Commission regulations for these expenditures," Lisker wrote at the time.

Through June, Newt 2012 reported more than $4.52 million in outstanding debts, FEC records show.

That's more money than any other presidential committee, past or present.