Newt Gingrich, a fiscal conservative? Not when it comes to Tiffany’s.
In 2005 and 2006, the former House speaker turned presidential candidate carried as much as $500,000 in debt to the premier jewelry company, according to financial disclosures filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress for two decades, retired in 1999. But his wife, Callista Gingrich, was employed by the House Agriculture Committee until 2007, according to public records. She listed a “revolving charge account” at Tiffany and Company in the liability section of her personal financial disclosure form for two consecutive years and indicated that it was her spouse’s debt. The liability was reported in the range of $250,001 to $500,000.
When asked by POLITICO whether Gingrich has settled this debt, and why he owed between a quarter-million and a half-million dollars to a jeweler, Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s spokesman, declined to comment.
Gingrich’s wife reported the debt in her 2006 and 2007 filing, which covered the 2005 and 2006 calendar years. It’s not clear whether Gingrich has since paid off the debt or not — neither Gingrich is currently required to file financial disclosure forms. As a presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich would have to file a personal financial disclosure form.
Since leaving the House, Gingrich has started several businesses, consulting firms and other money-making entities, but is not bound by the disclosure restrictions that he would be if he were in the House.
The House will prove an interesting check on Gingrich’s push for the GOP presidential nomination, and this week has been prime evidence of that. From rehashing issues from his speakership to commentary from former colleagues, people on Capitol Hill know Gingrich best, and have seen up close how he operates.
For example, after he called the House Republican’s 2012 budget “right-wing social engineering,” current lawmakers and former Gingrich colleagues jumped on the criticism.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Tuesday morning called Gingrich’s comments a “misspeak,” but said he would reserve judgment on whether his commentary on the GOP budget would end his presidential bid.
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