Glenn Beck's controversial sponsorship by Goldline, a California-based gold dealer, was the focus of a critical report released Tuesday by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)
In the report, Weiner charged that Goldline was using the hyperbolic -- and at times fear-inducing -- speech of its conservative business partners to encourage customers to buy the precious metal at highly-inflated prices.
In his investigation into the business dealings of Goldline, Weiner found that many of the company's products "could be found much cheaper on similar precious coin seller's websites." Their business model, the report alleges, encourages them to "aggressively push the sale of numismatic coins (collector) over bullion (pure gold) because the company has the largest profit margin on them and the sales representatives make the largest commission."
"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," said Weiner, according to Politico, whose original coverage of the Beck-Goldline connection spurred Weiner to launch the investigation.
"This industry goes beyond Goldline, but the Goldline circle has been particularly cynical in its cultivation of these conservative commentators," Weiner continued. "There are two industries that are intertwined here in this cynical play: the media industry and the online gold industry, and there is a lot of blame to go around."
Weiner has also announced plans to introduce legislation to force transparency in the gold industry.
Glenn Beck took to his radio show Tuesday to loudly protest the latest action against him and his sponsors, which he called "another arm of this administration coming out to try to shut me down."
"Is there anybody that is going to say anything in the press at any time if you stand up against this White House," Beck continued. "You wanna talk about the McCarthy era? Look at what this country is becoming."
Beck also had the Goldline CEO Mark Albarian -- who earlier stood by the contention that the recent move was a joint effort by Weiner and the White House to take down Glenn Beck -- as a guest on his show Tuesday to affirm the innocence of their business partnership.
"Do you remember a time when we had a conversation at the beginning where I said 'if you don't treat our customers -- if you don't treat my customers, my listeners with respect, it isn't gonna end well for you,'" Beck asked
"Yes," Albarian responded. "I take you very seriously."
On Tuesday night, Weiner spoke with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann about his recent decision to investigate the connection between Glenn Beck and Goldline:
"This really is about the consumers of Goldline's products and many of them take the rhetorical excesses of a Glenn Beck and his like when they talk up gold and then immediately go to the advertisements to get ripped off, there's no other way to put it. When you're advertising you're going to invest in gold and you wind up getting sometimes 200 percent more than the melt value of gold, that's just a bad deal. The only way for you to keep up is for the cost of gold to go up 200 percent before you put down the phone."
Weiner also was sure to take a shot at Glenn Beck, telling Olbermann, "I never intended this to be a battle of wits with Glenn Beck, as you know he comes only half-prepared to that battle."
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