Politico and the rest of the mini-scoop-driven Internet is currently freaking out because, at one point, Callista Gingrich, wife of Newt, reported between $250,000 and $500,000 in a “revolving charge account” owed to the high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. (In financial disclosure forms, “revolving charge accounts” are basically “credit cards.”) The debt was reported in 2007 when she filed forms covering 2005 and 2006 as part of her job at the House Agriculture Committee, and she listed it as her husband’s responsibility. Since she shortly thereafter dropped out of public service, and Newt hasn’t been in Congress since 1999, we don’t know whether the debt has been paid off. (They’re a relatively wealthy family that presumably employs financial advisers, or at least listens to Suze Orman, so it’s not too much of a leap to guess it has been.) The last time they reported their net worth, back around the same time, it was between $1 and $2.5 million. So, basically, at some point, it looks like they spent ten percent of their net worth on jewels.
The problem here is that Gingrich is running on a platform of tax breaks for corporations and wealthy people with stock portfolios, with the idea that these rich entities will begin to hire and chop down the unemployment rate. But this news raises the question: What’s he doing with his own extra money? Hiring people? Growing his business? No, he’s buying baubles for his wife. Of course, that’s an oversimplification, but that’s how it’s going to look to people who pay attention to these things. Once again, Gingrich proves he really, truly wasn’t paying attention in Boy Scouts when they taught everyone to “lead by example.”
Newt Gingrich owed six figures to Tiffany’s [Politico]