Private Equity Critic’s Ex-Staffer Lobbies Against Tax Changes

Oct 19 2007 | 7:02am ET

You’ve gotta hand it to those crafty private equity guys: Faced with a senator demanding a big hike in their taxes, they hired one of his protégés to battle the proposed legislation.

Both the Private Equity Council—which represents the Blackstone Group and 10 other private equity firms—and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts—through law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld—have hired Kenneth Cunningham to lobby against the tax plan.

Cunningham, not coincidentally, is the former chief of staff and general counsel for Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the chief critics of the alternative investments industry on Capitol Hill and the sponsor of a bill that would expose publicly-traded private equity firms to the corporate tax rate of 35%, rather than the 15% capital gains rate they currently enjoy.

Cunningham’s new gig was revealed in required filings with the Senate public records office. He left Grassley’s office last year to start a lobbying firm.

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