Newt Gingrich may have some explaining to do when it comes to his credit arrangement with Tiffany’s: at least as of 2011, the zero percent interest financing he said he received from the famously fancy jeweler doesn’t seem to exist.
A look at Tiffany’s current credit agreement shows that Tiffany’s extends credit only at credit-card-typical rates of 8 to 21 percent. Generally, if there is any sort of zero percent promotion (no merchant would ever offer zero percent indefinitely) the merchant must make it clear in the credit terms. Here, for example, is the decidedly-less-classy-than-Tiffany’s Tires Plus Credit Card agreement that offers zero percent interest and states it up front. Given that interest rates today are a good deal lower than they were in 2005 and 2006 and inflation is near nil, it would be odd if Tiffany’s offered interest free financing then but didn’t offer it now.
Provided Tiffany’s hasn’t ever offered interest free financing; there seem to be two choices neither of which look that good for Gingrich. First, and most likely, Gingrich did indeed, receive zero percent credit but got it as a special favor from Tiffany’s higher-ups. Although he wasn’t in public office at the time and getting special “celebrity” treatment wouldn’t violate any law, grubbing for favors from a fancy jewelry store doesn’t look very good for a person aspiring to become President. Second, and more simply, Gingrich did pay interest and is lying about it.