Alternative Investment Managers Push Vulnerable Dems To Fight Tax

Nov 8 2007 | 7:43am ET

What alternatives honchos giveth, they can taketh away. That was the unspoken message taken to a quartet of freshmen Democrats in Congress by lobbyists seeking to sink a proposed multi-billion tax hike on hedge and private equity fund managers.

Hedge fund executives and employees were some of the biggest donors to Democratic campaigns during last year’s election cycle, when the party won control of both the House of Representatives and Senate. And with a share of power in Washington, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), the new chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, is pushing for a tax reform bill that would cut taxes on millions of individual taxpayers, but would boost taxes for hedge fund managers by almost $50 million. One of its provisions would more than double taxes on carried interest.

Last week, lobbyists for private equity firms and hedge funds met with four freshmen Democrats facing tough reelection battles, urging them to oppose the bill, The Hill reports. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce set up the pow-wows with Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Nick Lampson (D-Texas), Tim Mahoney (R-Fla.) and Baron Hill (D-Ind.). Lampson and Mahoney, who represent heavily Republican districts, were boosted by Republican scandals. Hill, who had represented his district for three terms before being ousted in 2004, was returned to Congress by less than 10,000 votes; Courtney won by fewer than 100.

So far, the lobbying effort has produced somewhat mixed results. Courtney—who represents Eastern Connecticut and not the state’s hedge fund hotspots—says he will strongly support the measure, while Mahoney vows to oppose it. Lampson is said to be undecided on the measure. None of the four serve on the Ways and Means Committee.

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