By GREG BLUESTEIN
ATLANTA (AP) - The health care think tank created by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is going out of business.
The Gingrich Group, also known as the Center for Health Transformation, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in federal court in Atlanta on Wednesday. The bankruptcy filing marks an abrupt turn for a group that raised millions of dollars just a few years ago to support and promote Gingrich's health care ideas.
The center's filings indicate it has liabilities between $1 million and $10 million and between 50 and 99 creditors. The group had assets of only up to $100,000, the filing said.
Gingrich cut ties to the Center for Health Transformation and the Gingrich Group in May 2011 as he prepared his presidential run, said his attorney Stefan Passantino.
"It did exceptionally well under his leadership. What this shows is that he was integral to the operation and success of the operation," Passantino said. "It's not in any way a failure of leadership or management on his part. It just demonstrates how vital he was to the organization."
Gingrich's group created the for-profit center in 2003 to focus on health-related initiatives like improved health care technology, Medicare changes and President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. At its peak, it attracted a range of healthcare providers, academics and others who shelled out big bucks to become members, the attorney said.
"It didn't have the same appeal to the members as it had before when he left," Passantino said.
The filing lists dozens of creditors, including Passantino's law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge, Gallup Inc. and Gingrich Productions, the film company run by Gingrich's wife, Callista.
The former House speaker's campaign has faded from the presidential spotlight after he won the South Carolina primary in January. Since then he has won only the primary in his former home state of Georgia, which he represented in Congress for decades, while Rick Santorum emerged as front-runner Mitt Romney's chief rival.
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