Your morning jolt: Gingrich-Tiffany’s tale may be growing legs

The tale of Gingrich patronage of Tiffany’s may be growing something like a set of legs. From the blog SpyTalk:

At the same time Tiffany & Co. was extending Callista (Bisek) Gingrich a virtual interest-free loan of tens of thousands of dollars, 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, official records show.

Republican presidential hopeful, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia speaks to guests during a private house party in Manchester, N.H. AP/Jim Cole

Republican presidential hopeful, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia speaks to guests during a private house party in Manchester, N.H. AP/Jim Cole

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 jewelry company says the line of credit was nothing special. From the New York Times earlier this week:

The Tiffany spokesman, Carson Glover, said the company offers customers a “revolving credit card agreement” with state-specific rates; those who hold such cards are eligible for 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.

And on a visit to New Hampshire on Wednesday, the GOP presidential candidate declined an opportunity to address the matter. From the Washington Post:

Then came a question from a reporter about the controversy surrounding Gingrich and a $500,000 line of credit he and his wife had with high-end jeweler Tiffany’s.

“I feel that you are far more fascinated with that than most Americans,” he said. “Normal Americans actually ask about jobs, they ask about energy, they ask about all sorts of things that affect their lives.”

***
The latest poll from Gallup has former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty behind talk show host and businessman Herman Cain in the Republican presidential sweepstakes:

Mitt Romney (17%) and Sarah Palin (15%) now lead a smaller field of potential Republican presidential candidates in rank-and-file Republicans’ preferences for the party’s 2012 nominee. Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain essentially tie for third, with Cain registering 8% support in his initial inclusion in Gallup “trial heat” polling. Notably, 22% of Republicans do not have a preference at this point.

***
A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll declares that “more than three times as many Americans would choose to eat lunch and have a chat with President Barack Obama than with any of the several Republican hopefuls.” On the other hand, 10 percent of those polled said they would prefer to dine alone rather than break bread with any of them.

***
Did you miss that story about state university presidents who never seem to leave the payroll, even after they leave their jobs? See my AJC colleague James Salzer’s work by clicking here.

***
“Walking around money” has been given a new definition in Georgia. From the Associated Press:

Hikers visiting Georgia’s wildlife management areas must pay new fees starting next year.

The board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources voted unanimously Wednesday to charge visitors $3.50 for a three-day pass to wildlife management areas and fishing grounds or $19 for an annual pass.

That’s the same fee that hunters and fishermen pay.

Groups of fewer than nine people will have to pay $10 for a three-day pass or $30 annually. The new fees take effect Jan. 1.

The department has previously only charged hunters and fishermen. Facing budget cuts, DNR officials said it was appropriate to charge recreational users such as hikers, birdwatchers and rock climbers since they also use state resources.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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48 comments Add your comment

Centrist

May 26th, 2011
9:28 am

Ah, just what we need. ANOTHER Gingrich item.

bob leblah

May 26th, 2011
9:40 am

And libs say republicans sensationalize things. Where is the story here. Is it b/c he said they’re frugal? Sure by definition the word means not purchasing “lavish” items. However, a lot of people these days associate it with staying out of debt, buying within your means. These news organizations are trying to destroy what may be the repubs best candidate on non-sense. “he bought a $43k necklace”. So what? He can afford it. Does he owe people money? No. How many other politicians do we see owing back taxes, having large debts etc. I can’t believe this has become a story.

DannyX

May 26th, 2011
9:49 am

“Ah, just what we need. ANOTHER Gingrich item.”

I agree with the phony centrist, keep them coming, they keep getting better and better!

Ramguy

May 26th, 2011
9:50 am

Well Georgians elected a man Gov who had proved he couldn’t handle his personal finances. The sheep don’t care what Newt does, has done or will do.

Oh my

May 26th, 2011
9:54 am

Bob you can’t defend Newt any more than you can justify your vote for that crook of a governor we have.and if the republicans keep it up.The election in NY where you just lost at one time seems to be a safe seat.Will be the tip of the iceburg.In the mid-terms the American people gave you new life.And now with the Ryan budget and all the other things going on.The republicans remind me of the gang that could;nt shoot straight.

Aquagirl

May 26th, 2011
9:59 am

Newt Gingrich screwed up his campaign launch because even HE can’t keep track of all the perks he’s getting. Now the terrible liberal leftist media keeps bugging him about his stepford wife’s connections. You think these two things are related?

KJ

May 26th, 2011
10:18 am

Cain is tied with Ron Paul the same way Cain is tied with Pawlenty. Ron Paul is in third with 10%, Gingrich has 9% and Cain has 8%. Pawlenty has 6%, with someone in between.

Romney, Gingrich and Paul go up 2% each if Palin drops out, Cain doesn’t budge.

Sideshow Bill

May 26th, 2011
10:19 am

I sure wish I could get a $400K no-interest loan. Must be nice to have connections.

RetiredSoldier

May 26th, 2011
10:48 am

Hey Jim G-

Another hit piece on a republican. What would a day be without a cup of coffee and a Jim Galloway hit job. Spy talk, really? What’s next, sewer blog? Got a question for you Jim, point me in the right direction of the last hit piece you did on a democrat. Thought you couldn’t. If it wasn’t so much fun to read the reaction of your dedicated following, I would have to find a new blog to hang out in.

I was taught in the Army to never complain without providing a solution. Here is mine for you Jim. Be a real newspaper guy Jim and do your own first hand investigations. But maybe you have forgotten how to do it. Sad, really sad Jim.

RetiredSoldier

May 26th, 2011
10:50 am

AQ-

Wonder if Sen. O. was asked questions like this at the start of his campaign? Heck, the White House Press Corps won’t even do that now. Where is Helene when you need her.

Old Foggy

May 26th, 2011
10:56 am

Why is this a “hit piece” if it just brings up a coincidental timeline connection between a Tiffany interest-free account for someone special, and Tiffany lobbying activity?

RetiredSoldier

May 26th, 2011
11:04 am

Old-

OK, I’ll change the term, how about negative item? None the less, it doesn’t change old Jim’s method of operation.

missmollie

May 26th, 2011
11:05 am

Today, Mitt Romney is my choice. He does have two serious minuses…You figure…..At least he is not dragging a whole bag of rocks….

DannyX

May 26th, 2011
11:17 am

“Wonder if Sen. O. was asked questions like this at the start of his campaign?”

Sen O, why aren’t you wearing a flag pin?
Sen O, were you born in Kenya?
Sen O, your middle name is Hussein, are you a Muslim?
Sen O, where is your birth certificate?
Sen O, are you a community organizer?
Sen O, when did you become a socialist?
Sen O, why are you a terrorist sympathizer?
Sen O, was that a terrorist fist bump?
Sen O, why are you not patriotic?
Sen O, why do you hate America?

yuzeyurbrane

May 26th, 2011
11:17 am

I hope the press keeps on this. As you suggest, there may be more to this story than a man with a wife with expensive tastes. Why else would Newt not just bare all? He is very calculating and has a reason for every word he chooses.

DannyX

May 26th, 2011
11:28 am

“I sure wish I could get a $400K no-interest loan.”

It’s because it’s free. It’s because it’s free. The same reason Republicans go out to Walgreens and buy Activon when they don’t have any arthritis pain. Because it’s free. Folks, if you give people things for free, don’t blame them for taking them.

LEAVE NEWT ALONE!!!

no teabagging

May 26th, 2011
11:41 am

As one comedian put it, he needs the line of credit because he buys engagement rings in bulk.
All joking aside, what does one do to earn such a high credit line even at mega expensive Tiffany’s? Better question, What (if anything) did they actually buy with this line of credit??

Jon Lester

May 26th, 2011
12:50 pm

I think some of our resident conservative commenters have a problem with investigative journalism. They’re not bothered that Newt can’t get his current wife to put out for him without spending six figures, or that this problem was further magnified and enabled by what appears influence peddling, but if a journalist actually does his job and points these things out for the benefit of the voting public, somehow it’s a “hit piece.”

RetiredSoldier

May 26th, 2011
1:17 pm

Jon-

I agree with and wholeheartedly support investigative journalism. What Jim Galloway does is not investigative journalism. To do that one has to do more than copy and paste from liberal blogs. And, one should be “imvestigating” both political parties, Jim doesn’t do that either.

Bottom line, show me Jim’s orginal work into this matter and I’ll be happy to say I was wrong.

DannyX

May 26th, 2011
1:36 pm

You sure have turned into a whiner Retired Soldier, man up.

RetiredSoldier

May 26th, 2011
1:50 pm

DannyX-

Your whine is my facts. Remenber, I told you once…when you have the facts on your side, argue the facts, when the facts don’t support you, BS. I notice you seldom address the facts so I have to conclude your are full of…no facts.

RGB

May 26th, 2011
2:03 pm

Only backers of a state-planned economy regard an individual purchasing something with his own money as a “perk”. Common sense-minded folks would regard government handouts as perks rather than purchases one makes with his own money. Here’s wishing that at some point you become as concerned with how your own money is spent as you are with Newt’s.

For all you people who are biting your lips with anger over Newt’s “freebies”, check out the Tiffany web site where it states: “Please ask about Tiffany Payment Plans that give you access to
interest-free financing. Ask your sales professional
or call our Credit Services department at 800 827 1396.”

That’s more investigative journalism than was put into this “article”.

Oh, they offer free shipping and a business discount of 15% if you spend enough. I suppose those are enticements for Newt as well and that he will intervene on behalf of silver mining companies because of the free shipping offer. I call on all liberals to reject free shipping wherever it exists!

Also, this is minimally the second time this topic has been featured in this blog. There is no new information here. Gingrich or his wife spent their money at Tiffany’s. The drive-by media want, I suppose, for the Gingrichs to pull the jewelry and silverware out and show each item whereby the happy couple could pose with the items. And that would accomplish exactly what? Oh, we know, it would further sink Newt’s ideas about reviving the economy and slowing the growth of government.

And we just couldn’t have that.

RGB

May 26th, 2011
2:04 pm

How ironic that a whining “non-soldier” would tell a retired one to “man up.”

Retired Solider, thank you for your service.

Last Man Standing

May 26th, 2011
2:08 pm

Oh my:

“the American people gave you new life.And now with the Ryan budget”

At least Ryan offered something. The senate voted on Obama’s budget and it went down in defeat 97 – 0. The deomocrats are offering no budget proposal at all.

terri

May 26th, 2011
2:08 pm

The reason it might have legs is because of people like you in the media. It is a stupid, boring story, let’s talk about the 57 states Obama has traveled to, and the 20 years he spent with Jeremiah Wright, his friendship with Bill Ayers……

Last Man Standing

May 26th, 2011
2:13 pm

RetiredSoldier:

If you want to read something positive about any Republican, you won’t read it here. What you will read is hit piece after hit piece on Republicans. They are “targets of opportunity” here. If Jim didn’t kill them off in his offerings, the majority of bloggers here will kick them to death.

I’m attempting to compile a list of the critical pieces written about democrats here, but I haven’t remembered any yet.

Last Man Standing

May 26th, 2011
2:15 pm

DannyX:

Obama went from not wearing a flag pin to having many flags in the background when he speaks now. I smell an election coming . . .

RetiredSoldier

May 26th, 2011
2:15 pm

RGB-
Thank you, it was truly a pleasure.

LMS-
Exactly!

terri-
Preach on lady.

Last Man Standing

May 26th, 2011
2:25 pm

no teabagging:

“All joking aside, what does one do to earn such a high credit line even at mega expensive Tiffany’s?”

Have an income, net worth and credit history to qualify?

“Better question, What (if anything) did they actually buy with this line of credit??”

Wouldn’t that come under the heading of “nunya”, as in “none of your business”?

Casual Observer

May 26th, 2011
2:36 pm

Where there is smoke……I give his campaign until July 1st. By that time either his wife will be indicted or he’ll drop out. Dirty politics whether R or D is Dirty politics.

chubbynecessity

May 26th, 2011
2:40 pm

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, http://BidsWork.com

ByteMe

May 26th, 2011
2:48 pm

According to wingnut logic, Jim’s afraid of Newt and Callista, which is why he’s writing such negative pieces about them.

:roll:

Last Man Standing

May 26th, 2011
2:48 pm

Slow blogging day. Someone’s posting ads for a web site.

RGB

May 26th, 2011
2:56 pm

Yes, LMS, and the ad more closely approaches investigative journalism and real insight than the topic does.

reebok

May 26th, 2011
2:57 pm

“A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll declares that “more than three times as many Americans would choose to eat lunch and have a chat with President Barack Obama than with any of the several Republican hopefuls.” On the other hand, 10 percent of those polled said they would prefer to dine alone rather than break bread with any of them.” Thanks for the afternoon laugh! That’s hilarious, and kind of sad, and probably all too true.

DannyX

May 26th, 2011
3:20 pm

Tiffany’s stock is up 8.55% today!

Newt must have put in another order.

bob leblah

May 26th, 2011
3:40 pm

@Oh my – I love on these blogs when people assume things they have no idea about. I did vote but it wasn’t for Deal. You’re all over the place… Not even saying I’m a Newt guy.. just saying this is a non-story.

Julia

May 26th, 2011
3:51 pm

So, Gingrich has a diamond encrusted gold “Prince Albert” huh?

BABY SAY

May 26th, 2011
4:08 pm

BABY – - TELED JU DAT KANE GOIN WEND GORGEE +_=DIN’T BABY SAY DAT???

BABY GOIN BEE RITE AGIN. BABY SAY dS90- N WEN BABY SAY.. _IT GOIN HAPIN.

BABY SAY &*>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Serious Robuck

May 26th, 2011
5:17 pm

Last Man, I just read that your boy Pawlenty came out in support of the Ryan budget plan that would end Medicare and set up a voucher system. Good luck getting him elected. Next.

Last Man Standing

May 26th, 2011
5:34 pm

Serious Robuck:

What website do you frequent that gives you your talking points? Inquiring minds want to know . . .

You can bet the farm and your a$$ that there will be change. We’re broke! Busted! Ain’t got a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of! There will have to be some major changes, and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be on the table.

Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling, but I pray that the congress has better sense than to vote for that hellaciously bad idea.

BTW, the Seante forced a vote on Obama’s budget. The Nays were 97, the ayes was 0. Are you beginning to get the picture? Not a single democrat voted FOR Obama’s budget.

Last Man Standing

May 26th, 2011
6:58 pm

Serious Robuck:

Still waiting for your response.

DannyX

May 26th, 2011
7:19 pm

Last Man Standing are you drunk?

Maybe our old people can “…starve, live under bridges and die from lack of medical care.” just like your Christian immigrant fantasy.

Serious Robuck

May 26th, 2011
7:23 pm

Sorry, Last Man, to keep you waiting. I actually got my talking point about Pawlenty’s vulnerability from Dick Morris on Fox News Channel. I stop by Fox every now and then to get an idea what informs idiots like you.

I guess you missed it while blogging here or listening to Rush.

Toddle off to bed now, Last Man. I suspect DannyX is right.

[...] By that reasoning, it’s a good thing that America has been in a recession because it gives people a motivation to be creative about how they are going to keep their homes, pay bills, get jobs, and put food on the table for their families unless they’re in as good a condition as Newt Gingrich who can run up $500,000 tabs on jewelry at Tiffanies. But, then, most Americans don’t have someone in their family working for Congress when Tiffanies is lobbying Congress. [...]

ga female

May 27th, 2011
2:38 pm

Newt also got Calista’s BFF a GS/GM 15 job at Patent and Trademark that she was unqualified for when she was only 26-28. This was while Newt was still married to wife number 2 and screwing around with Calista. Calista’s BFF told me after drinking a couple of Margarita’s at a conference in San Antonio. This was at the same time old Newt was trying to impeach Clinton. Newt has alot of skelton’s in his closet and alot of loose lipped friends of his mistresses.

Hide-n-seek

May 28th, 2011
12:02 pm

Is it just me or does this seem ironic to you? We the taxpayers, now have to pay a “users” fee to use State Parks that we, the taxpayer, has already paid for? Just abolish the park and let Ga. taxpayers walk across the land if they want to.