Market Overview

Newt Gingrich Turns Embarrassment into Potential Criminal Charges


For an allegedly smart man, Republican Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich says and does some incredibly stupid things. He's such a poor manager of his own stories that it's a wonder how he was able to juggle so many mistresses over the years.

The latest (but probably not the last) gaffe involves Gingrich squirming his way out of an embarrassing scenario by admitting to an even worse scenario — one that could conceivably end in investigations, charges, and jail time.

The trouble started for Gingrich after it was revealed that he and his third wife, Callista, has a revolving credit line of $500,000 at Tiffany's (NYSE: TIF). While not a big deal in and of itself, it was a bit of an embarrassment of riches for a man seeking the nomination for President. It certainly doesn't endear him to middle class primary voters who are struggling to make ends meet.

Gingrich's explanation to voters? It was a fiscally responsible credit account, because it was zero percent interest. In other words, he had the account because it represented a good deal.

As it turns out, the deal might be a little too good...and possibly a felony.

Tiffany's charges its normal customers a hefty 21% interest rate on their credit accounts. Gingrich paying 0% interest could represent an unreported gift from the company to both Newt, the former Congressman, and wife Callista, who was a high level staffer for the House Agriculture Committee.

Why does that matter? The Agriculture Committee monitors the Forest Service, which oversees mining, including silver mining, in federal forests. During the time Callista Gingrich worked for the House Committee, she carried a balance in the account (representing an interest-free loan). Tiffany's mines silver on public lands, so keeping a staffer with the pull of Callista Gingrich happy could pay off dearly for the company.

Adding to the madness is the fact that Newt Gingrich's former top staffer is now a lobbyist for...wait for it...Tiffany's!

It's the crime drama that damn near writes itself, and none of it would even be publicly known if Newt Gingrich just knew how to keep his forked tongue in his mouth.


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Posted-In: Callista Gingrich Newt GingrichNews Movers & Shakers Politics Global Hot General Best of Benzinga

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