Former Speaker of the House and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is launching a new political action committee whose first order of business is to pay off his nearly $5 million in campaign debt.
The Committee for America will "advance conservative candidates and conservatism," but also "[retire] outstanding financial obligations of Newt 2012," a press release from the committee said.
According a recent report from watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Gingrich's debts after the race totaled nearly $5 million, and the campaign spent $880,000 of that after he dropped out of the race—much of it on luxury travel. At the time of the report, Gingrich told Whispers he "wasn't directly involved" with those travel expenditures, but believed they were "previously incurred expenses."
The Committee for America will kick off with a fundraiser on April 29 in Greenville, S.C., where Gingrich and his wife Callista will "[thank] the people of South Carolina for their tremendous support and hospitality" during the election, his website says.
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said the PAC appeared to her to be "Newt's effort to creatively come up with a new way to persuade people to give him money."