SEIU intensifies its fight to close equity firm loopholes

WASHINGTON: SEIU launched a new phase of its recent campaign against tax loopholes that it said unfairly benefit private equity firms. This effort specifically targets Kohlberg, Kravis, and Roberts (KKR) and its ties to the John McCain presidential campaign.

WASHINGTON: SEIU launched a new phase of its recent campaign against tax loopholes that it said unfairly benefit private equity firms. This effort specifically targets Kohlberg, Kravis, and Roberts (KKR) and its ties to the John McCain presidential campaign.

SEIU and its partners, Amnesty International and MoveOn.org, are encouraging people to write to the McCain campaign protesting the tax rates. KKR chief Henry Kravis is a major McCain fundraiser.

"This campaign's based on a role [these firms] play in the economy," said Renee Asher, SEIU's assistant director for strategic campaign communications.

Berlin Rosen and Vandenberg Communications are providing media outreach for the campaign. SEIU and its partners plan a grassroots outreach to stage a July 17 demonstration in 100 cities and five countries to protest the tax rates.

Multimedia components of the campaign include a video featuring comedian Lewis Black mocking private equity firm executives; an interactive game on SEIU's Web site; and other, still undisclosed, PR efforts touting the campaign.

KKR's spokesperson, Kekst & Company partner David Lilly, declined to comment.

SEIU is also actively campaigning for presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

Asher said SEIU hopes to pressure the firms to open their holding companies to unionization.
"They employ so many people in this country. Absolutely, we'd like them to form a union," she said.

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