November 29, 2012

Another View: Donald Sussman supports increase in hedge fund taxes

A prominent member of Congress writes to defend Rep. Pingree's husband from critics.

The recent letter about U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree and her husband, Donald Sussman, notes that Mr. Sussman is in the hedge fund industry, and notes that President Obama had been critical of the law that allows hedge fund managers to pay only 15 percent of their income on money which is treated as a capital gain.

The letter also complained that Sussman has been a significant contributor to political causes.

Sussman has been an opponent of that tax loophole and has supported subjecting carried interest to full taxation.

He is also one of the leading campaigners in the country for overturning the right-wing Supreme Court rulings that opened the gates for this unlimited campaign spending.

Sussman does not think that opponents of unlimited spending should allow its advocates to engage in it unilaterally. I believe that neutralizing the partisan advantage that comes from the Republican super PACs is not only a matter of electoral fairness in the short term, it is the best way to get agreement that we would be better off -- as Sussman believes -- if we put an end to this unlimited spending.

It is also relevant to note that Rep. Pingree has voted to end the 15 percent loophole, and for measures to rein in unlimited campaign spending. She has also voted for the financial reform bill which toughened up regulation of hedge funds; a position, which by the way, I also support.

Rep. Pingree and I became colleagues when she was elected to the House in 2008, because my then partner and now husband, Jim Ready, is a longtime resident of Ogunquit, in the congressional district she represents.

Mr. Ready and I have become social friends of Rep. Pingree and her husband. And we have often discussed both fair taxation and the importance of tough financial regulation.

I am pleased to report that Sussman is a strong supporter of both.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is a part-time resident of Ogunquit.


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