President Trump will reportedly assign Stephen Feinberg to lead a broad review of U.S. intelligence agencies, The New York Times reported this week.
This comes as Trump expresses outrage that material from his White House is being leaked to the press. He tweeted on Thursday, “The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!”
Feinberg served as a Trump adviser during the presidential election, but he does not currently have any role in the White House. Here’s what you need to know about him.
1. He Is a Billionaire & the Founder of a Private Equity Firm
Stephen Feinberg is the founder and CEO of Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm. He founded this company in 1992 when he was 32 years old. According to Korean Investors, Cerberus oversees $30 billion of assets.
According to The New York Times, the firm became an “overnight sensation” when it acquired both Chrysler and GMAC in under 12 months.
The firm hired former Republican vice president Dan Quayle to serve as chairman, a position he remains in to this day.
Feinberg is very much against his employees having any sort of media presence. According to Rolling Stone, in a 2007 speech to shareholders, Feinberg said, “If anyone at Cerberus has his picture in the paper and a picture of his apartment, we will do more than fire that person. We will kill him. The jail sentence will be worth it.”
According to Forbes, Feinberg’s net worth is $1.27 billion.
2. He Is a Republican Donor
Feinberg for years has been donating to Republican politicians.
During the 2016 election cycle, Feinberg initially backed Jeb Bush, donating $200,000 to a Super PAC supporting Bush’s candidacy in March 2015, according to Open Secrets. However, Feinberg later got behind Trump, and between September and November of 2016, he donated about $1.5 million to a Super PAC supporting Donald Trump. He also donated $300,000 to the Republican National Committee.
In total, Feinberg donated $2,437,000 to Republican candidates during the 2016 election. He did, however, donate $10,000 to Democratic candidates, including Chuck Schumer.
3. His Firms Owns the Largest Gun Manufacter in the Country
Cerberus Capital Management is the owner of Freedom Group, the largest firearm and ammunition manufacturer in the United States. Some of Freedom Group’s brands include Remington and Bushmaster.
Following the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings, Cerberus announced that it would sell its investments in Freedom Group.
“It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level,” Cerebus said in a statement. “…As a Firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers. Our role is to make investments on behalf of our clients who are comprised of the pension plans of firemen, teachers, policemen and other municipal workers and unions, endowments, and other institutions and individuals…There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take. Accordingly, we have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group.”
As of February 2017, however, Cerebus still owns Freedom Group.
4. He Was an Economic Adviser to Donald Trump During the Campaign
During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Stephen Feinberg served as one of the candidate’s top economic advisers.
He was appointed to this position in August 2016 along with 12 other men, almost all of whom were millionaires or billionaires, according to The Washington Post.
Earlier this month, Cerberus Capital revealed that Feinberg was in talks with President Trump to join the administration.
“Cerberus confirms that cofounder and CEO Stephen Feinberg has been engaged in conversation with President Trump’s administration about the potential to join the administration in a senior role,” a spokesperson for Cerberus told Forbes.
According to The New York Times, Feinberg held a New York City fundraiser for Trump in June 2016. Tickets for the fundraiser cost $50,000 per person.
5. He Is Reportedly Being Considered for an Intelligence Position
The New York Times reported this week that “top intelligence officials fear that Mr. Feinberg is being groomed for a high position in one of the intelligence agencies.”
They also reported that Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner, with whom Feinberg has close ties, have considered Feinberg for the role of director of national intelligence or chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service.
Intelligence officials are fearful of that because Feinberg has no intelligence experience whatsoever. Even Dan Coats, Trump’s nominee for director of national intelligence, is reportedly angry that the administration is trying to sideline him by giving this intelligence review assignment to Feinberg.