Private Equity Pros Want Your Vote

Nautic Partners co-founder Rory Smith yesterday became the latest PE pro to throw his hat into the electoral ring, announcing his plans to run for Rhode Island governor. The others are: Steve Pagliuca (Bain Capital – U.S. Senate from Massachusetts); Kip Kirkpatrick (Water Street Healthcare Partners – Illinois treasurer) and Allen Alley (Battery Ventures until 1996 – Oregon governor). The party split is even, as Smith and Alley are Republicans, while Pagliuca and Kirkpatrick are Democrats. [Update: Seems I missed that Kirkpatrick dropped out, saying he underestimated the time demands of being a candidate]

I hope to interview each of them within the next week, including a video spot I’m doing tomorrow with Pagliuca. Particularly interested to hear what each of them thinks about the spate of pending legislation and rules changes aimed at private equity and venture capital.

Whatever you think of the specific proposals – fund registration, carried interest tax changes, placement agent bans, FAS 157 revisions, etc. – it is a bit odd that the PE asset class is getting so much scrutiny without causing any systemic troubles. Not saying that certain changes aren’t positive, but it does seem that you, dear readers, make for a soft target right now.

Per usual, I hope that each of the four gets elected. Not because I think each would be the best choice for their respective office, but because it will help me fill this column going forward. Four of the most selfish – and irresponsible – endorsements you could possibly hope for…