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GINGRICH SOLICITS FUNDS

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House Republican Whip Newt Gingrich is appealing to his past campaign contributors to help pay more than $125,000 in legal fees for preparing his defense against ethics charges.

Rich Galen, a spokesman for the Georgia congressman, said Thursday that Gingrich sent an urgent fund-raising letter last week to some 12,000 previous contributors seeking help with his legal bills.Two Washington attorneys, former Arkansas Rep. Ed Bethune and Dan Swillinger, have been preparing a defense so Gingrich will be ready if the House ethics committee decides to launch a formal investigation of two complaints filed against him by Rep. Bill Alexander, D-Ark., Galen said.