Term Sheet

The latest on private equity, M&A, deals and movements — from Wall Street to Silicon Valley

Private equity's default silence

October 16, 2013: 2:25 PM ET

Private equity execs punt when asked about debt ceiling.

brokencongressFORTUNE -- As the debt ceiling and government shutdown talks stalled yesterday, I reached out to several top private equity executives for their thoughts on what would (or wouldn't) happen if there was no deal by Thursday. Did they believe it would be catastrophic? Did they believe continued implementation of Obamacare would be worse? What were they telling their portfolio company CEOs?

No comment.

That's what I heard from representatives for people like Leon Black of Apollo Global Management (APO), Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group (CG) and Stephen Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group (BX).

It was an embarrassing lack of leadership for those who fancy themselves masters of the financial universe.

To be clear, this wasn't about providing me or Fortune with pageviews. To my knowledge, none of these individuals* have made any public statements about the impasse since it began (outside of some generic hopes for eventual resolution).

Private equity execs like to tout their job creation skills, economic know-how, charitable work and importance to the broader economy. They host fundraisers for presidential candidates, and sometimes attend private strategy retreats. But when an extremely important – albeit politically thorny – financial subject arises, they stay conspicuously silent.

I'm not presupposing individual opinions on this matter, particularly given that some of the aforementioned executives are steadfast Democrats and some are steadfast Republicans. Instead, I'm asserting that these folks have risen to a position in America's economy where they should be making their influential voices heard.

You're on the level of bank CEOs now guys. Time to act like it.

* The one exception here would be Blackstone Group president Tony James, who wrote an op-ed for the WSJ and appeared on CBS News. Kudos to him.

Posted in:
Join the Conversation
About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

Email a Tip | @danprimack | RSS
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.