By Luke Rosiak-The Washington Times
Newt Gingrichâ€™s presidential campaign has received a second warning from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for widespread financial irregularities, saying the campaign must disclose why nearly $1 million was paid to the candidate, staff and a small group of fundraising consultants for questionable reimbursements.
But hours after the FEC letter on its 2011 finances became public, the campaign filed a report for a newer time period, January, that indicated that the problems have become far worse.
The campaign transferred Mr. Gingrich $88,000 last month for unspecified â€œtravelâ€ expenses, a pace far higher than he paid himself over the course of 2011, a federal report filed Monday showed. It was part of $220,000 in mystery money that month that went to people close to Mr. Gingrich on top of their salaries, raising the issue of potential self-dealing.
The FEC warning letter was issued the day The Washington Times documented the suspect reimbursements.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond had told The Times that the payments were a result of Mr. Gingrich footing bills early in the campaign and getting reimbursed because no bank would give the campaign a credit card. He had said the campaign was finally able to obtain a credit card late last year, so there would be no reason for the pattern to continue in 2012.
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