Is Newt Gingrich a Lean Six Sigma Spokesperson?
As the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign trundles on, he faces fresh accusations that he is using his campaign to promote the cause of one of his chief donors.
Lean six sigma is an amalgam of the lean manufacturing methodology pioneered by Toyota and six sigma, a methodology made popular by GE. The concept was first popularized in a 2002 book by Mike George, a Gingrich supporter who has donated more than $200,000 to his presidential campaign.
“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.”
A spokesman for Mr Gingrich however is unrepentant and does not believe there to be any issue with the funding Mr George has given the campaign and the number of times Mr Gingrich has mentioned the phrase lean six sigma.
“I don’t worry about that any more than I worry about Goldman Sachs giving to Mitt Romney,” he said, referring to one of Gingrich’s rivals in the Republican race. “Gingrich is the only candidate who can communicate the message” of using Lean Six Sigma to reduce government waste, he said. “He’s the only candidate with independent thought."
Mr George has reaffirmed that he has no intention of profiting from the campaign and that Mr Gingrich is merely using current management thinking in a bid to get the budget into shape. He claimed last year that it is essential that the next president of the United States have this kind of managerial background.
In August, Newt Gingrich spoke with the Process Excellence Network about the potential for lean six sigma to make $500 billion in government efficiencies each year.