Talk show host Glenn Beck and Goldline International, a California-based gold retailer, have colluded to use fear mongering tactics to bilk investors, according to a stinging report issued Tuesday by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).
The report alleges that Goldline grossly overcharges for the gold coins that constitute the bulk of its business, uses misleading sales techniques and takes advantage of fears about President Barack Obama’s stewardship of the economy – which are stoked by its paid stable of paid conservative endorsers including Beck, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and Fred Thompson – “to cheat consumers.”
Goldline is the exclusive gold sponsor of Beck’s radio show. But, as POLITICO detailed in December, a number of gold selling companies pay other conservative commentators as sponsors and also advertise on a variety of conservative talk radio shows, as well as Fox News, which airs Beck’s television program.
In a statement accompanying the report, Weiner said “Goldline rips off consumers, uses misleading and possibly illegal sales tactics, and deliberately manipulates public fears of an impending government takeover – this is a trifecta of terrible business practices.”
Weiner said “it’s unacceptable that this company is preying on public fears to sell its products.”
A member of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, Weiner said he plans to introduce legislation to require Goldline and other precious metal retailers to fully disclose all their fees, how much the price of gold would need to rise in order for their customers’ investments to yield a profit, and the purchase price, melt value and resale value of the metal that constitutes their products. And he called on the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Federal Trade Commission to investigate “the shady business practices conducted by Goldline International.”
Goldline president and CEO Mark Albarian said Weiner is targeting the company because of its relationship with Beck, the popular conservative radio and television talk show host who has drawn rebukes from the White House for his scathing attacks on Obama.
“It feels like it’s politically motivated in that neither the Congressman nor anybody from his office ever contacted executives from the company to really ask the important questions that they need to ask to understand this business,” said Albarian. “If I had to speculate, I would say that it’s because our relationship with Glenn Beck, which we are very happy with.”
On his radio show Tuesday Beck teed off on Weiner, accusing him of leveling a politically motivated attack on Beck and Goldline at the behest of the Obama administration.
“This is incredible. This is incredible,” he said. “This is again another arm of this administration coming out to try to shut me down,” he alleged, calling Weiner and the Obama administration “monsters” and the report a return to the “McCarthy era.”
Levin, a rival radio host, in an email to POLITICO blasted Weiner as “a grandstanding leftist” and said of his report “there's nothing here but Weiner's self-serving assertions.”