Cass said he hasn’t run his project past the senators American Compass is friendly with, a group who have all touted the think tank. Those lawmakers include Arkansas’ Cotton, Florida’s Rubio, Missouri’s Hawley and Utah’s Romney, who notably made millions of dollars as a co-founder of private equity firm Bain Capital before entering politics.

Industry’s Nightmare
While American Compass just opened its doors this month, its existence and policy objectives could herald something Wall Street has long feared: a common ground between anti-finance Democrats and Republicans willing to challenge the party’s established economic views. That kind of broad voter coalition helped Trump win the White House in 2016.

Private equity firms in particular have been worrying about their reputations on Capitol Hill during the coronavirus pandemic. Just this month, iconic retailers J. Crew and Neiman Marcus, both private equity owned, collapsed under staggering debt loads and were forced to file for bankruptcy.

The industry was also dealt a blow when Congress and federal agencies largely left it out of massive rescue packages. That included restricting buyout firms’ portfolio companies from accessing the Small Business Administration’s $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program and the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program.

Private equity’s main lobbying group, the American Investment Council, said it is no longer pushing to obtain federal stimulus money and noted that the industry not only supports millions of workers at portfolio companies, but its investment funds benefit pensioners and endowments.

“Our industry directly employs over 8 million people, supports thousands of businesses, and strengthens local pension retirees,” a spokesperson for the council said in a statement. “We are committed to working together to restart the economy, now is not the time to advance a narrow political agenda that hurts workers and retirees.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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