Newt's Tiffany Credit Sparks Influence Concerns
No-interest credit extended as Callista Gingrich dealt with mining policy
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2011 2:35 AM CDT
Newt Gingrich and wife, Calista, wave at the audience gathered to hear him speak in Macon, Georgia.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – At first, self-professed "frugal" Newt Gingrich's Tiffany bill of up to $500,000 just made him look ridiculously out of step with cash-strapped Americans. But now, the financial arrangement with the jewelry behemoth is raising questions about influence, notes Gawker. Gingrich and his wife enjoyed a special interest-free line of credit from Tiffany's while Callista Gingrich worked as chief clerk for the House Agriculture Committee. That's when Tiffany was lobbying the committee to influence silver mining policy, Spy Talk points out.

Callista Gingrich listed debts to Tiffany of as much as $500,000 during two years at that time, notes the Washington Post. Interest on that bill for a typical consumer runs 21%, meaning the powerhouse couple ducked tens of thousands of dollars in interest fees. Spending by Tiffany's lobbyist, Cassidy & Co., zoomed while Callista worked for the committee. Now it looks like diamonds might not turn out to be a girl's—or a presidential candidate's—best friend.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
May 27, 2011 1:21 PM CDT
Doesn't sound legal to me.
May 27, 2011 11:01 AM CDT
This isn't news. Anyone who works in Washington might find some money coming their way if a lobbyist thinks that he or she can be of some use to them. In Washington, cash talks and bullshit walks. We need to rethink the way lobbying works in this country.
May 27, 2011 8:42 AM CDT
I just finished my morning news roundup, and have yet to see this story anywhere else. I'm a bit surprised, this is huge.