SEATTLE — Part of the process of keeping informed while following political campaigns is subscribing to these campaigns’ e-mail listserv’s.
This form of political spam is mostly full of routine reminders to donate money or rally at such and such a location. So it was no surprise that I got another note from Newt Gingrich yesterday morning. But what was different was that it was an ad for the identity-protection company Lifelock, Inc.
“Help Protect Your Identity and SAVE!” the banner proclaimed. It goes on to plug the service without mentioning any official affiliation with the Gingrich campaign, as NPR has reported. The company does not have any political or business connection to Newt Gingrich. (Nonetheless, note that the promo code for the offer is “NEWT.”)
Gingrich is some $4.5 million in debt by his own admission, and having trouble paying its vendors. Gingrich’s campaign chief, Michael Krull, has stepped down, even as the candidate himself has vowed to fight on to the bitter end (i.e. the convention).
It makes sense, then, that the campaign would be selling its e-mail lists to advertisers, but it’s definitely a sign of what dire financial straits it’s in.
Getting into debt is fairly common in political campaigns, with some candidates still paying off supporters years later.
As the Lifelock ad claims, “It could happen to anyone.”