Jeb Bush’s famously low-key wife, Columba Bush, is getting a lot of attention for her expensive taste in jewelry.
On Sunday, The Washington Post published documents showing that Columba, 61, took out a series of loans to buy $42,311.70 during a single visit to a jewelry store in Florida back in 2000.
According to Uniform Commercial Code forms filed by the store with the Florida secretary of state’s office on May 3, 2000, Columba took out a loan through Mayors Jewelry to purchase, among other items, a pair of platinum diamond studs worth more than $25,000 and a Bulgari gold and diamond bracelet worth $10,500.
At the time of her purchases, Jeb had recently begun his first term as the 43rd governor of Florida. (He served from 1999 to 2007.)
The Post also reports that Columba was a frequent customer at Mayors, taking out several loans over the years. Back in May 1997, she took out money to buy a $16,600 Rolex watch and a $15,000 Roman coin necklace. Most recently, in March 2009, she purchased $5,900 earrings and a $11,700 Rolex.
The reports of Columba’s purchase history comes as Jeb is expected to announce his candidacy in the 2016 presidential race. Despite having married into a famous political family, Columba is known for being fairly reserved – she rarely gives interviews and eschews public life.
The financial habits of presidential candidates and their spouses tend to be closely scrutinized during elections. In 2012, Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, was criticized for her dressage horse, Rafalca. In 2007, John Edwards was roundly mocked after it was revealed that he spent $400 on a haircut.
A spokeswoman for Jeb Bush’s office told The Post that his wife’s shopping habits should not be an issue.
“Mrs. Bush bought jewelry from time to time from Mayors Jewelers over the years,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told the newspaper. “Though not required to be reported, these purchases in 2000 were included as accounts payable on Governor Bush’s financial disclosure that year, and paid off the next.”
The paper also reports that Columba was detained and fined by federal customs officials for misrepresenting the amount of clothing and jewelry she bought during a 1999 trip to Paris. She spent roughly $19,000 during the trip.
Afterward, Columba said that she was deeply embarrassed by the ordeal.
“It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” she said.