The Private Equity Council and the Managed Funds Association paid lobbyists more than $7.3 million last year and almost $2 million in the first three months of this year, according to the government watchdog Center for Responsive Politics. And so far in the financial reform bill pending in the Senate, hedge funds and private equity firms have not been subject to the crackdown many consumer groups pushed for.
Hedge funds will have to register and open their books to the Securities and Exchange Commission, but Weissman said the bill doesn't give the SEC the power to impose changes should it find problems. In fact, Weissman said, the SEC can't even publicly disclose the problems. All in all, he said, the industry gets "a pretty sweet deal."