Newt Gingrich has reached new levels of desperation: To raise cash, he's started renting out his campaign's donor list for up to $26,000. Gingrich's campaign is $4.5 million in debt, and apparently those $50-a-pop pictures with Newt weren't helping to close the gap. Insiders tell Politico that Gingrich and wife Callista insisted on continuing to use private jets, top-level security, and other perks despite the diminishing popularity of the campaign. “They overspent to keep up the appearances of being a top-tier candidate,” says one former campaign aide. “If you have a campaign bus and you’re flying in on a chartered jet, but you do not have the money for that, you end up sacrificing your ground game."
Politico notes that the donor list rental is risky, considering the fact that it could turn off Gingrich's supporters and donors. It could also weaken his support since donors will get multiple solicitations from various conservative groups, which is why candidates usually wait until they've dropped out to rent out such lists. Between this, the $50 photos, and the campaign's $500 bounced check, it's not too surprising that aides had a meeting recently to discuss what an insider calls "keeping [Gingrich] from looking like a fool." (Read more Newt Gingrich stories.)