The executive vice president of Goldline, Scott Carter, will be in the witness chair tomorrow fielding questions from Congressman Anthony Weiner at a hearing of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
Mr. Carter spoke with FutureOfCapitalism.com by phone in advance of the hearing. He said his company is being singled out because of its sponsorship of conservative talk shows.
Mr. Carter said his company has been in business for 50 years, has an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau, and has the "best disclosures in the industry."
"We're the only company that's been called," he said. "We're the advertiser, so we've been selected."
I asked him if he'd considered pulling the ads to get Mr. Weiner off his back.
"No," he said. "We are not going to do that." He said the company's advertising decisions are based "purely on performance" measures such as "cost per lead" and are not motivated by ideology. "It's your basic advertising business model," he said.
He said the company considered resisting the request to appear before the subcommittee but ended up deciding that it was best to respond and seize the opportunity to showcase the issue.
He said the economic uncertainty driving gold purchases "is not a narrative driven by Goldline" or by any individual commentator that it sponsors. "This is just the state of events right now," he said, mentioning even a recent speech by the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan.
Goldine ads touting gold as a diversification strategy to deal with economic uncertainty are "no different than seeing a car company discussing the threat of global warming and saying you should buy a green car," Mr. Carter said.
He dismissed Mr. Weiner's criticism of selling coins at a price higher than their so-called melt value, saying the price of the coin "can be driven by additional factors" such as scarcity and demand. He said Goldline's most popular product, the Swiss 20 Franc, had returned 240% over the past decade, which "stacks up favorably to other asset classes." He also said that Mr. Weiner's criticism of Goldline could just as well apply to any company that buys products at wholesale prices and sells them at a retail markup. "His example just doesn't pass basic business sense," he said.
Goldline is majority-owned by CIVC Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm. It's actually somewhat ironical if Mr. Weiner thinks he's attacking the right wing by going after Goldline because it advertises on Glenn Beck and other right-of-center radio and television, because one of the partners in CIVC, Marcus Wedner, has, according to Federal Election Commission records examined by FutureOfCapitalism.com, a long history of campaign contributions to Democrats, including Barack Obama ($4,600 in 2007, $7,000 in 2004, $1,500 in 2005, $250 in 2003); John Kerry ($2,000 in 2004); Harry Reid ($500 in 2009 and another $500 in 2010); Hillary Clinton ($500 in 2005, another $500 in 2008); Joseph Biden ($500 in 2007), Rahm Emanuel ($750 total in 2003 and 2004, $500 in 2007), and Nancy Pelosi ($1,000 in 2007).
As Mr. Carter noted, mentioning George Soros, you can be interested in gold "regardless of your political beliefs."