Saturday, January 14, 2012

How Congress Loves PEU's

Let me count the nontax ways the U.S. Congress showed love to private equity underwriters (PEU's).  Over the last six years The Carlyle Group paid a tax rate of 1%.

The Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein personally visited Congressmen to save PEU preferred carried interest taxation multiple times.  Carlyle is a virtual nonprofit.

Four Carlyle principals attended an Inauguration Eve party for newly elected President Barack Obama, only three had their Carlyle credentials omitted.  T.F. "Mac" McLarty, co-founder David Rubenstein, and Ed Mathias never cited their Carlyle slots.  Only William Kennard listed his employer, The Carlyle Group.

Other PEU's represented at the 2009 soiree included KKR, Perseus, RLJ ( a joint venture partner with Carlyle), Ariel Capital and Ripplewood.  Ripplewood purchased Hostess Twinkies in February 2009, sending it into bankruptcy this week.  Purchased politicians and their high dollar donors seem bankrupt, much like the Ding Dong.

Update 11-16-12:  Hostess will shutter operations and attempt to sell its brands in bankruptcy auction. Note the language regarding the PEU race to the lowest global common denominator on worker pay and benefits:  "They were not going to agree to another round of outrageous wage and benefit cuts and give up their pension only to see yet another management team fail and Wall Street vulture capitalists and 'restructuring specialists' walk away with untold millions of dollars."

Update 12-13-12:  DealBook reported David Rubenstein, the billionaire co-founder of Carlyle, said that it was unfair to accuse his industry of not paying its fair share of taxes.  “I’m paying what I’m supposed to pay,” he said. “Change the law, I’ll pay whatever I’m supposed to pay.”