Buying Newt: Gingrich Speeches Reference Top Super PAC Donor’s Business Efficiency Scheme

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"Buying Newt: Gingrich Speeches Reference Top Super PAC Donor’s Business Efficiency Scheme"

Mike George and Newt Gingrich

Mike George and Newt Gingrich

Texas businessman and management theorist Mike George has spent over $100,000 to fund a pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC called Strong America Now. And, while recent polls seem to indicate his investment is unlikely to earn him influence with a “President Gingrich,” it is paying off in another way.

According to a Bloomberg report, Gingrich has named-dropped “Lean Six Sigma,” George’s management efficiency theory, at least 28 times since August in his speeches. George has written several books on the cost-cutting and efficiency-increasing theory and Gingrich has adopted George’s proposal to apply those principles to the federal government.

Good-government groups are expressing serious concerns about the apparent quid pro quo:

“This goes beyond the concern about coordination, and smack dab into the concern of having a mutually profitable business relationship between a super-PAC and a presidential candidate,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist with Public Citizen in Washington, a group that advocates for tighter regulation of political donations. “There’s Gingrich out there selling Mike George’s book while Mike George helps to promote Gingrich’s candidacy. That’s kind of amazing.” [...]

“Strong America Now obviously is an asset to the Gingrich campaign, and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics based in Washington, which tracks political giving.

This type of advocacy on behalf of his well-heeled friends is nothing new for Gingrich — his “Newt Inc.” empire was built on people paying his companies for access to him. While not actually lobbying, the former speaker of the house raked in millions of dollars in exchange for promoting their services to the public and state and federal officials, according to the New York Times.

A Gingrich spokesman defended the relationship with George saying “Gingrich is the only candidate who can communicate the message” of using Lean Six Sigma to reduce government waste. Perhaps after his campaign is over, Gingrich can parlay that unique ability into a more formal endorsement gig.

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