Newt’s Tiffany Problem
News continues to pop surrounding Newt Gingrich's $500,000 line of credit with the jeweler Tiffany & Co. Some reports call the line of credit "non-standard," and suggest that Tiffany's lobbied the House Committee which Newt's wife worked on, implying some type of pay for play. However Carson Glover, a spokesman for Tiffany & Co., tells FOX News that Gingrich had a standard revolving credit card agreement for qualifying customers, allowing them up to 12 months of interest free borrowing if they spend more than $1,000 on an engagement ring or $5,000 on other merchandise. "There is nothing unusual or extraordinary about the credit extended to Speaker Gingrich," said Glover. "Last year, Tiffany & Co. extended credit to over 1,000 customers on identical terms."
The second, and more lethal, piece of the attack which has Tiffany's lobbying the committee on which Newt's wife worked also seems flawed. Callista Gingrich was the chief clerk on the House Agriculture Committee from approximately 2000 to 2009. Expenditures to Tiffany's lobbyist, Cassidy &Co., rose from about $100,000 in 2005 to $360,000 in 2009, according to government records assembled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
However, officials at Tiffany & Co. maintain the company never lobbied the House Agriculture Committee.
"Tiffany's lobbying efforts have been focused on the reform of the General Mining Law of 1872... and the clean-up of abandoned mines. We had no reason to lobby the Agriculture Committee and we did not," Said Glover. " Nor did anyone at Tiffany & Co. (or Cassidy & Associates on behalf of Tiffany) ever speak to Speaker Gingrich or Mrs. Gingrich about either of these matters. Our focus has been on the Natural Resources Committee which has jurisdiction over these matters. "
The Gingrich campaign calls the storyline a lie.
"They're not even talking about the right committee and anyone who has worked on the Hill knows chief clerks have no role in writing legislation," said Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler. "It is a civil service, non partisan, administrative position."
Yet the narrative has proven to be a tough one for Gingrich to shake, instead of talking about the big ideas he is famous for he has been spending precious time dismissing these accusations as part of his "private life." It also doesn't help that the credit line represents a sum greater than some Iowa caucus voters' mortgage.