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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gingrich Takes Dole Loan for Fine

WASHINGTON -- U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich announced Thursday he will pay a $300,000 ethics penalty with a loan from former Senate Republican leader Bob Dole.

"Newt Gingrich will personally pay the entire amount through a loan from former U.S. Senate majority leader Robert Dole," a statement issued by Gingrich's office said.

The surprise announcement of financial backing from another prominent Republican political figure represented Gingrich's effort to end controversy over whether he would pay the ethics penalty on his own or from campaign donations. The ethics case has contributed to a weakening in his once-unshakable political grip and to speculation his tenure as speaker might be in jeopardy.

"[My wife] and I decided, whatever the consequences, we had to do what was best, what was right, morally and spiritually," the statement quoted Gingrich as saying.

He was assessed the unprecedented $300,000 penalty when the House voted in January to reprimand him for using tax-exempt money to promote political goals and misleading House investigators on that issue. He was the first sitting speaker ever sanctioned by vote of the House, and he has been under pressure from Democrats and many Republicans to use his own money to pay the penalty.

The statement said the loan would be a legal obligation, at an interest rate of 10 percent compounded annually, "due and payable" within eight years. It said the sum would be collectible only from Gingrich and could not be forgiven.

"Speaker Newt Gingrich's action today puts this matter to rest," said the statement.