Updated 4:29 p.m. -- The Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney observes that the ties between the Gingriches and Tiffany & Co. extend beyond just the line off credit offered to the couple:
Christy Evans, formerly a top staffer to then-whip Newt Gingrich, is a registered lobbyist for Tiffany's, the high-end jeweler where Gingrich and his wife enjoy an extraordinary line of credit.
Evans, former floor assistant to Gingrich and now a lobbyist at the legendary K Street firm Cassidy & Associates, has represented Tiffany's on mining issues since 2000, according to lobbying filings. The Gingriches have benefitted from a $250,000 line of credit at Tiffany's -- essentially an interest-free loan.
Felix Salmon at Reuters points to this report that Callista Gingrich was benefitting from this line of credit while serving on the House Agriculture -- while Tiffany's was lobbying agencies over which the Ag Committee had jurisdiction.
But a spokesman for New Gingrich says the Reuters report is wrong and forwards along a statement from Carson Glover, director of worldwide media relations at Tiffany & Co.:
Tiffany's lobbying efforts have been focused on the reform of the General Mining Law of 1872 (to fairly compensate taxpayers for metals extracted from public lands and to better protect the environment from the impact of hard rock mining) and the clean-up of abandoned mines. We had no reason to lobby the Agriculture Committee and we did not. 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 one and only meeting with the Forest Service on the matter of Mining Law reform was in response to an invitation by Dale Bosworth, Chief of the Forest Service, as a result of our Open Letter to him in the Washington Post that appeared on March 24, 2004.
To re-iterate, there is nothing unusual or extraordinary about the credit extended to Speaker Gingrich. Last year, Tiffany & Co. extended credit to over 1,000 customers on identical terms.