Although Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has been in the news of late for attacking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his role at Bain Capital, it seems that Gingrich also had a paid role at a major private equity firm.
From 1999 to 2001, Gingrich served on an advisory board for Forstmann Little, according to a New York Times report. Former Sen. Bob Dole and former Secretary of State Henry Kissenger also served Forstmann Little in similar capacities, a Gingrich campaign spokesperson told the Times.
The Forstmann Little advisory board that Gingrich served on met twice a year in Manhattan at either the “21” Club or at the Four Seasons. Discussions at these meetings revolved around potential investments, principally in the health care industry.
The Times also reported that Gingrich made actual investments in some of the companies held by Forstmann Little.
Forstmann Little has a history of close ties with Washington insiders. The investment company employed former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as chief executive of General Instrument when it held the company in its portfolio.
“Forstmann Little earned billions of dollars in profits from its investments in companies, including General Instrument and Gulfstream Aerospace. But the firm shut down most of its operations a decade ago after suffering losses from ill-timed bets on high-flying telecommunications companies at the height of that industry’s bubble,” the Times reported.
Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, Henry R. Kravis’s Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts and Forstmann Little were three of the top private investment companies of the 1980s and 1990s. Forstmann Little and Kravis’s Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts struggle for RJR Nabisco, which KKR eventually won, is profiled in the book — and later movie — “Barbarians at the Gate.”