Thursday, May 26, 2011


I'd call this your classic buried lede. Everybody is focussing on the Gingrich-related aspects of this this, but I think something more scandalous is going on.

At the same time Tiffany & Co. was extending Callista (Bisek) Gingrich a virtual interest-free loan of tens of thousands of dollars, the diamond and silverware firm was spending big bucks to influence mining policy in Congress and in agencies over which the House Agriculture Committee--where she worked--had jurisdiction, official records show.

Filings by Tiffany’s lobbyist, Cassidy & Co., and other government records show that the firm’s spending on “mining law and mine permitting-related issues” in Congress, as well as the Forest Service, the Interior Department, and Interior’s Bureau of Land Management shot up sharply between during the period when Callista Gingrich was chief clerk at the House Agriculture Committee.

Tiffany's annual lobbying expenditures rose from about $100,000 to $360,000 between 2005 and 2009, according to records assembled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization.

The Forest Service, which comes under the committee’s jurisdiction, oversees mining, including silver mining, in federal forests.
What I'm wondering is, what exactly is the benefit to taxpayers if Tiffany gets a break? Will I be able to buy this at a 20% discount now? Will an army of diamond-cutters be recruited for jobs? I don't even care if they offer a $3.99 breakfast at Tiffany, it's not worth it. Whatever their discounts, I'd rather spend my tax money on infrastructure.

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