Kasten, right, with President Ronald Reagan in 1987. After serving two terms in Congress, Kasten stayed in D.C. to run a baking and consulting group.
Years after leaving Congress, former Sen. Bob Kasten, R-Wis., has kept his eye on the issues he focused on while he was a member.
Kastenís two Senate terms provided him time to focus on foreign aid, particularly during his tenure on the Appropriations Committee. He lost his bid for re-election in 1992, but he still lives in Washington, D.C., where he operates an international banking and business consulting group, Kasten & Co.
Being in the nationís capital is helpful, he said in a recent interview, because heís close to all the familiar amenities and people: the Senate barbershop; former colleagues; his ex-wife and two children, who all live here.
ďBut more importantly for me, itís put me where the embassies and the ambassadors and the [International Monetary Fund] and the various multilateral banking groups Iím trying to work with are located,Ē he said.
Kastenís investment work takes him to Middle Eastern countries often, though the uprisings that began rocking the Arab world in 2010 have disrupted some of his partnerships.
Heís been to Egypt several times since the protests at Tahrir Square led to the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, but itís much more difficult now, he said.
ďItís complicated,Ē he said. ďThe rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the rise of, if you will, Islamic fundamentalists, is creating significant problems, not just for business and private enterprise, but for, you know, the goal of a secular kind of government in places like Egypt.Ē
Compounding his foreign affairs focus, Kasten is also on the board of trustees of the American University in Cairo and the board of advisers of the American Foreign Policy Council think tank.
He has also served on the board of the Center for International Private Enterprise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerceís portion of the National Endowment for Democracy, he said. Heís also on the board of Talos Partners LLC, an investment firm, and the InStore Broadcasting Network, a Utah-based music and advertising provider.
Kasten, among others, was named in a fraud lawsuit concerning Talos and IBN in April. ďThe issues involved happened way before I went on the board,Ē he said. He hasnít yet been served and he said he expects to be dropped from the case.
Kasten continues to pay attention to the world of politics, even if most of his business is in finance. After all, as long as he lives in the nationís capital, itís all going on in his own backyard.