Will Newt Gingrich have trouble raising cash in 2012?

Holly Bailey

Newt Gingrich has long been known as a prolific fundraiser. The former House speaker took in close to $14 million in 2010 for American Solutions, one of his network of non-profit committees that funds his day-to-day political activities.

But while Gingrich has raised a lot of cash over the years, most of that money has come in the form of large, unregulated contributions that aren't subject to federal campaign limits.

As Politico's Ken Vogel reports, Gingrich's American Solutions PAC, an affiliate of his non-profit committee, reported raising just $53,000 so far this year in so-called "hard money"—contributions that actually fall under FEC donations limits.

As Vogel writes, it's a "meager" sum "highlighting potential fundraising difficulties as the former House Speaker girds for a campaign for the GOP presidential nomination."

It's not a great sign for Gingrich, whose viability in the race will largely be judged on whether he can financially keep up with opponents like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, who have raised millions for their federal PACs over the last year and are seeking to replicate that fund-raising success in their White House bids.

But Dan Kotman, a spokesman for American Solutions PAC,  dismissed the low numbers, saying the committee was created solely to help raise funds for 2010 GOP candidates and that it would likely pick up its fund-raising pace heading into the 2012 congressional campaign.

"Any PAC that helps candidates will slow down dramatically in the period immediately following an election," he told The Ticket. "But we can fully expect to see activity increase as the election year once again approaches."

He insisted federal PAC's fund-raising is not a reflection on Gingrich's potential 2012 cash take as the two efforts are "completely separate."

Meanwhile, there are more signs that Gingrich is ramping up his 2012 bid. While the former speaker has said he won't announce his decision on a White House run until May, he's signed up three prominent Iowa politicians to his presidential bid, the Des Moines Register reports.  That includes state House Majority Linda Umpmeyer, who will chair Gingrich's 2012 committee.

(Photo of Gingrich: David Goldman/AP)