Newt Gingrich’s $800,000 Tiffany Website Puts His Campaign into Debt


Newt Gingrich spent close to $800,000 on a website and mass-email system? According to the Post, that jewelry from Tiffany’s isn’t the only gold-plated part of his campaign:

Gingrich also spent nearly $800,000 on Internet and software-related services from three technology firms. Spokesman R.C. Hammond said the bills were largely due to high start-up costs for a new Web site.

The LA Times has more details:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, fell $1 million into debt by the end of the quarter. The campaign still owes more than $200,000 on a $700,000-plus bill from the Austin, Texas, firm hired to develop his website and email distribution platform.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond defended the campaign’s Web development costs.

“Reaching out to a voter online is just as important as reaching out to a voter in person,” he said. “It will be a cornerstone to how the campaign communicates with the coalition of supporters we’re building.”

Did that number include the stock photography? Of course, Barack Obama paid Blue State Digital and other vendors a big chunk of change for online services in 2008, but he was also raising tens (later hundreds) of millions of dollars at the time. And, they were in the process of building tools from scratch that have since become commonplace — nowadays, enough standardized, off-the-shelf technology exists that a campaign can put together a robust online presence for a whole lot less money than custom development would cost (look at Bob McDonnell’s 2009 Virginia gubernatorial campaign for one example and Scott Brown’s 2010 Massachusetts race for another).

My suspicion? Newt’s love of Big Ideas got him into Big Trouble in this case, and a couple of vendors will be the beneficiaries — if they ever get paid.

cpd

17 Comments:

  1. Pingback: Newt Gingrich buys million dollar* website and spam machine | Hotspyer – Breaking News from around the web

  2. Pingback: Newt Gingrich buys million dollar* website and spam machine

  3. joe

    very fiscally conservative choice he made… oh well, maybe they’ll just let him have it since he’s going to need welfare soon anyways.

  4. arrrmatey

    The site is just using Drupal, which is an open-source content management system. So, that means the basics of all of the structure and programming was done already and just customized for his site…

    You can tell because this is the login page:
    http://www.newt.org/user

  5. cpd

    @ Arrrmatey. Good catch! Customizing a Drupal installation can take a bunch of time, but hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of time? C’mon…somebody got ripped off.

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  8. Anna Richardson

    What about Nancy Pelosi’s inside trading? legal but not ethical

  9. Newt for President

    So what? It wasn’t redistributed money from anyone else’s pocket. It was from his own pocket. What about Obama and the 3000 folks he had in tow when he and Michelle traveled to Spain?

  10. Newt for President

    Check out Scott Pelley being pulverized by Newt. It’s great!

  11. cpd

    Hi “Newt for President,” looks like we hit a nerve here. Don’t you think it’s ironic that a candidate who touts his forward-thinking nature and internet-savvy would get completely ripped off by a vendor? I mean, what he paid 800k for could be built for about 5% of what he shelled out. Doesn’t that raise questions about his judgment? I’m just sayin’.

    Oh, and if you think it’s coming out of HIS pocket, why don’t you ask his donors.

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  14. WCGreen

    Drunken sailer meet besotted ex Speaker….

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