NEWARK, Del. – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich today defended the $500 bounced check his campaign submitted to the Utah elections office as payment for the fee to appear on the primary ballot.
“This is one of those goofy things,” Gingrich said after a campaign stop in Delaware. “That check was drawn in December. The account actually was closed by the time they processed it. It wasn’t a question of money. That particular bank account was closed.”
Utah elections director Mark Thomas attempted multiple times to contact the campaign about the bad check and said that if the matter isn’t resolved by April 20, Gingrich will be disqualified from the ballot, ABC News reported Tuesday.
“I went back and checked and it was entirely a technical question of the bank being closed,” Gingrich said. “It wasn’t that we didn’t have the money in the bank but that particular account had been closed as they made a transition to a different bank on January 1,” Gingrich said.
The campaign had recently changed finance and accounting staff, although the designated agent who submitted the check, Wallace Woodruff “Woody” Hales, is still employed by the campaign, a source close to the campaign said.
This isn’t the first time Gingrich has been connected to a bounced check. An attack ad from the height of the House banking scandal surfaced on the Internet from BuzzFeed in which Gingrich’s opponent in the 1992 election, Herman Clark, made Gingrich’s 22 bounced checks written to the House bank when he was the House minority whip a central issue of the campaign.
Gingrich won that election by only 980 votes.
The ad is set to the tune of “Old McDonald Had a Farm”:
“With a bounced check here and a pay raise there, here a check, there a check, everywhere a bounced check. Newt Gingrich wrote a rubber check to the IRS,” the ad stated.
The ad claims that a Gingrich check to the IRS bounced for more than $9,000, and that Gingrich bounced 22 checks for more than $26,000.
As for the bounced check given to the Utah elections office, Gingrich told ABC News, “They apparently have it all worked out.”
He confirmed that the campaign will post a little less than $4.5 million debt because of exponential spending in the Florida primary.