Report questions Gingrich charity's spending

Republican presidential hopeful, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition at their 2011 Summer Bash, June 12, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Republican presidential hopeful, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition at their 2011 Summer Bash, June 12, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Republican presidential hopeful, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition at their 2011 Summer Bash, June 12, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
AP

An ABC News report has called into question the ethics of payments from a charity founded by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to for-profit businesses he also runs.

According to ABC, payments from Gingrich's "Renewing American Leadership" charity to at least two of his business ventures risked, "crossing a bright line that is supposed to separate tax-exempt charitable work from both the political process and such profit-making enterprises as books and DVDs."

The charity paid $220,000 to Gingrich Communications for books and DVDs promoting the embattled Republican's political philosophy, claims ABC.

Confronted by an ABC crew in New Hampshire about the charity's finances Tuesday morning before a campaign appearance, Gingrich refused to comment.

"I'm not concerned about that. The American people aren't concerned about that. Try covering the speech," he said before getting into a car and closing the door on the reporter, who was trying to press him on the matter.

Gingrich's presidential campaign has been dogged by defections and scandals since its very early days.

As CBSNews.com senior political reporter Brian Montopoli wrote following the first GOP presidential debate on Monday, Gingrich did nothing to improve his standing as a "serious long-shot for the nomination" with his televised performance.

Nonetheless, Gingrich has vowed to "endure the challenges" and see his campaign through.

Video: Gingrich jokes about staff quitting

  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.

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