Newt's Account Is Paid Off: Tiffany
But there are still lots of unanswered questions, writes Glenn Kessler
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2011 7:23 AM CDT
In this photo provided by CBS News, former House Speaker and Republican Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich gestures outside the studios for CBS's "Face the Nation," May 22, 2011, in Washington DC.   (AP Photo/CBS News Photo by Chris Usher)

(Newser) – Newt Gingrich's "Tiffany Time Account" has a zero balance, and all his payments to the jeweler “were made in a timely manner,” a rep tells the Washington Post. In his Fact Checker column, Glenn Kessler digs into exactly what that means (with apologies for "dealing with trivia in exploring this issue in such depth"). Apparently Gingrich had a Tiffany Time Account, which is available to customers who already have a Tiffany credit card and offers no interest for up to one year on purchases of engagement rings over $1,000 or other merchandise over $5,000—so Newt’s purchases of up to $500,000 would most certainly apply.

Because Callista Gingrich’s 2005 and 2006 reports both show that the Gingriches owed between $250,001 and $500,000 to Tiffany, that suggests the balance was paid in full one year and then another huge bill was run up the following year. But there are still lots of unanswered questions, writes Kessler: Does Gingrich's Tiffany credit card have a balance? Why utilize a payment plan if they had the means to pay the debt in full? Not to mention, what the heck did they buy? One thing is clear: “If Gingrich and his wife really ran up bills at Tiffany every year totaling more than $250,000, that completely undercuts his claims of being ‘frugal.’”