Tiffany's is denying reports that it gave Newt Gingrich favorable terms on a no-interest loan or lobbied his wife when she worked for the House Agriculture Committee.
"We had no reason to lobby the Agriculture Committee and we did not. Nor did anyone at Tiffany & Co… ever speak to Speaker Gingrich or Mrs. Gingrich about either of these matters," Tiffany's spokesman Carson Glover said in a statement Thursday. "Our focus has been on the Natural Resources Committee which has jurisdiction over these matters."
The company was responding to a report by Spy Talk's Jeff Stein that Tiffany's had lobbied the House Agriculture Committee on mining issues when Gingrich's wife, Callista, worked there--the same period when Gingrich received a no-interest loan from the jeweler.
The Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney reported Thursday that Christy Evans, a top Gingrich aide when he was in the House, is a registered lobbyist for Tiffany's and was leading their lobbying efforts at the time.
As The Ticket reported last week, House ethics disclosures filed in 2005 and 2006 by Callista Gingrich revealed the former House Speaker recently owed between $250,000 and $500,000 to the jewelry company.
Gingrich has defended the credit line, telling CBS's "Face the Nation" that he's paid off the bill, and the couple is now "debt free." But, in doing so, he revealed his agreement with Tiffany's was a "no-interest" credit line--which prompted the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler to wonder how Gingrich got such a great deal.
But Glover insisted Gingrich did not receive special treatment.
"There is nothing unusual or extraordinary about the credit extended to Speaker Gingrich," Glover said. "Last year, Tiffany & Co. extended credit to over 1,000 customers on identical terms."
Gingrich's campaign has been frustrated with media attention on the issue. On Wednesday, the candidate himself accused reporters of obsessing over the issue.
"I feel like you are far more fascinated with that than most Americans," Gingrich told reporters in New Hampshire Wednesday, per CNN.
Still, the controversy adds to what has been a rough 2012 campaign rollout. Per TPMDC, a Public Policy Polling survey released Thursday found that Gingrich's favorable rating with GOP voters has dropped 17 points in the last month--from 52 percent to 38 percent.
(Photo of Gingrich: Elise Amendola/AP)