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Gingrich’s primary vehicle for political organizing for the last decade has been GOPAC, which has raised and spent more than $8 million just since 1991. But GOPAC claims most of its money is used to help elect Republican candidates for state offices (a “farm team” of future congressional candidates), and thus says that it doesn’t have to disclose its financial activity or observe federal limits on the sizes and sources of campaign contributions. The Federal Election Commission disagrees, and is suing GOPAC.

In the states where GOPAC did file, a curious pattern emerged–the same $40,000 in contributions from a group of eight businessmen were reported in at least six different states. What this means is that even the modest amounts GOPAC reported receiving in various states don’t even begin to account for who really filled the war chest, since the same $40,000 contribution was recycled at least six times.

The upshot is that most of GOPAC’s money wasn’t reported at the federal or state level. And the internal records of GOPAC remain under lock and key. Only these documents can shed light on some of the most important questions about Gingrich’s machine, including what happened to millions of dollars GOPAC has raised and spent since Gingrich took it over in 1986. Without full disclosure, it’s impossible to know who secretly contributed to GOPAC, what they got in return, and where the money got spent.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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