Hedge Funds Turn Bullish on Lobbying

As Congress ponders new taxes, regulations, industry opens wallet
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2008 4:40 PM CDT
Sen. Charles Grassley speaks at the Iowa State Republican Party Convention in this 2006 file photo. Hedge funds are worried that Grassley and others like him will rain on their low-tax parade.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The hedge-fund industry is stepping up its lobbying efforts, Politico reports, having belatedly realized how tempting a target it presents to cash-strapped politicians. Facing attacks from both sides of the aisle for their tax-free offshore accounts and lightly taxed incomes, hedge funds upped lobbying spending to $1.9 million last year, and have donated $10.6 million to campaigns this election cycle.

But checks alone won’t ease political heat, says the former Louisiana congressman running the industry's lobbying group. To lawmakers, funds look like “some entity that is just out there with no political relationships,” Richard Baker says, and changing that perception will be tough. “Almost without regard to who wins what seat in Congress or who occupies the White House, we know we are going to face challenges.”