Tiffany & Co. was actively lobbying the House committee Newt Gingrich’s wife Callista was working for at the time the couple had a $250,000 to $500,000 interest-free revolving charge account with the famed jeweler, SpyTalk blogger Jeff Stein reports.
Newt Gingrich has previously touted his Tiffany’s bill as evidence of his fiscal responsibility because he paid it off in full. Newt Gingrich also claimed the revolving charge account with Tiffany & Co. came interest-free, but the high-end jewelery company doesn’t appear to offer such a deal to your average Joe, the Washington Post reports.
The “diamond and silverware firm was spending big bucks to influence mining policy in Congress and in agencies over which the House Agriculture Committee — where she worked — had jurisdiction,” according to Stein.
Filings by Tiffany’s lobbyist, Cassidy & Co., and other government records show that the firm’s spending on “mining law and mine permitting-related issues” in Congress, as well as the Forest Service, the Interior Department, and Interior’s Bureau of Land Management shot up sharply between during the period when Callista Gingrich was chief clerk at the House Agriculture Committee.
The company’s lobbying expenditures went from about $100,000 in 2005 to $360,000 in 2009, according to records assembled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Stein reports.
A spokesman for Gingrich and representatives of the jewelry company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the Washington Post reports that a Tiffany & Co. spokeswoman sent out this statement: “With the permission of Speaker Gingrich, we can confirm that his Tiffany Time Account has a zero balance and that all payments were made in a timely manner.”