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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Outside Spending for Gingrich

Jeremy W. Peters reports at The New York Times:
His cash-short campaign unable to buy much advertising of its own, Newt Gingrich’s well-financed allies are coming to his rescue in Iowa, securing large chunks of airtime across the state.
Newsmax, the conservative magazine and Web site, will show a 30-minute special on Mr. Gingrich throughout the weekend in all of Iowa’s major television markets. The program is hosted by Michael Reagan, son of the former president, and makes the case that Mr. Gingrich is the strongest candidate to carry forward Ronald Reagan’s legacy.
A second major player in conservative circles, Liberty University, the evangelical institution founded by Jerry Falwell, is also giving Mr. Gingrich some help in Iowa, running 30-second commercials in which Mr. Gingrich extols the virtues of a Liberty education.
Neither video explicitly endorses Mr. Gingrich as the Republican nominee, but their pro-Gingrich messages raise a host of election law questions and highlight how loopholes in the law allow politically motivated groups to influence the outcome of elections. Liberty, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, is prohibited by law from participating in campaign activities on behalf of any candidate. Newsmax, a corporate entity, is also limited in its political activities but is now much freer to get involved since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court case.
Liberty is the second organization in recent weeks to advertise on Mr. Gingrich’s behalf in Iowa. Citizens United, the nonprofit that produces conservative films, has been showing old commercials featuring Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, and his wife, Callista, promoting a video on Ronald Reagan.