An online video linked with a petition to the presidential candidates has generated nearly 30,000 signatures in support of closing the loopholes used by the buyout fund managers ("private equity" fund managers) to generate billions without paying their fair share of taxes. The video is part of the "War on Greed" film series that Robert Greenwald has created and which takes a comical yet serious look at the greed of private equity titans like Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). The most recent video explains the tax loopholes used by the industry, including the loophole for "carried interest," which is basically compensation paid to fund managers for managing other people's money. Although the video does not use the term "carried interest," it does explain that these super-wealthy fund managers are allowed to pay taxes on their compensation at the special low 15 percent rate reserved for capital gains.
Many were disappointed last year when the Senate failed to approve a House-passed bill that would have closed the carried interest loophole and clamp down on the fund managers' use of offshore tax avoidance schemes. Hundreds of organizations had publicly endorsed the effort to close the carried interest loophole.
For its part, the private equity industry/buyout industry seems to know that the loopholes it enjoys still infuriate some members of Congress and the public. KKR just hired Ken Mehlman, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, to run its public affairs department, demonstrating real concern that Congress may move to check the unfair advantages the industry enjoys.