KKR Adds Lobbyist

WASHINGTON (AP) — Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., which is planning to go public, has tapped a former Republican National Committee chairman to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form.

Ken Mehlman, an attorney with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld since he stepped down as RNC chair last year, is among those registered by the law firm to work on behalf of KKR.

The firm will lobby on tax and regulatory matters affecting private equity firms, according to the form posted online Friday by the Senate's public records office.

Private equity firms have mounted an intense lobbying campaign in recent weeks after several federal bills have been introduced that would raise the tax burden — to 35 percent from a capital gains rate of 15 percent — on publicly traded investment partnerships and on private equity managers' compensation from a share of their firms' profits.

New York-based KKR has said it plans to go public. In a recent regulatory filing, it indicated it would offer a $1.25 billion initial public offering.

Several other private equity firms and hedge funds, including Blackstone Group LP and Fortress Investment Group LLC, which both became publicly traded this year, have hired lobbyists for similar issues.

Under a federal law enacted in 1995, lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches. They must register with Congress within 45 days of being hired or engaging in lobbying.