The following article about Henry Kravis and KKR's pre-1992 hidden history first appeared in the July 22, 1992 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper weekly, Downtown, during the period when Kravis's KKR firm still owned New York magazine--prior to its sale to Bruce Wasserstein in 2003 for $55 million).
Henry Kravis was one of New York's leading financial sponsors of former CIA Director Bush I's 1988 presidential campaign. Kravis and Bush I "really made a connection" at the end of 1987 and "during the early days of Bush [I]'s campaign for the primary election," Kravis "agreed to co-chair a Bush [I] fund-raising luncheon at the Vista Hotel in lower Manhattan, to which many Wall Street dealmakers were invited" that raised $550,000 for Bush's 1988 presidential campaign, according to The Money Machine by Sarah Bartlett. After Bush I won the 1988 election, Kravis was named co-chairman of Bush I's inauguration dinner. And in 1990, Kravis served as the national chairman of Bush I's inaugural anniversary dinner. The Money Machine described what happened at this latter dinner:
"The gala affair, which was held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, was attended by about one thousand people, most of whom were Republican Eagles, the group that gives at least $15,000 a year to the Grand Old Party...In his remarks that fun-filled night, Bush [I] took the time to single out Henry [Kravis] as one of `those who did the heavy lifting on this.'"
Kravis told The Money Machine author Sarah Bartlett in the early 1990s that Bush I "writes me handwritten notes all the time and he calls me and stuff, and we talk" and Barlett also revealed in her book that "when Bush [I] is mulling over a financial issue, he will seek out Henry's opinion." Bush I also offered Kravis some U.S. ambassadorship posts before Kravis agreed to accept an appointment by Bush I to a national trade commission. Kravis also contributed funds to George W. Bush II's uncle, Jonathan Bush, when Bush II's uncle was the financial chairman of New York State's Republican Party organization. New York Republicans named Kravis as their "Man of the Year" and then-Republican Vice-President Quayle gave a keynote speech at a Republican Party dinner which honored Kravis in either the late 1980s or early 1990s.
Coincidentally, Kravis's father--Ray Kravis--was a friend of George W. Bush II's grandfather--Prescott Bush of the Brown Brothers Harriman investment banking partnership. According to The Money Machine, "When his son George [Bush I] graduated from Yale and was looking for a job, Prescott asked Ray if he would give George [Bush I] a job. Sure, was Ray's response."
(end of part 2)