The Washington, DC trade group has more than doubled its membership to include mid-market firms, and has created a committee to consider issues relating to the small and mid-market. Jenna Gottlieb

The Private Equity Council has added 18 members bringing the total membership to 30 firms and changed its name to the Private Equity Growth Capital Council.

The PEC’s founding members agreed earlier this year to open membership to many other US private equity firms to better portray the asset class to lawmakers as a diverse collection of business builders and entrepreneurs.

Doug Lowenstein, president of the PEC, told PEM in April the association members had put off the decision to expand membership in part because of the need to focus resources on lobbying against key congressional initiatives. While Lowenstein said the private equity industry is not “in the clear” on the regulatory front, he argues that a lull in legislative momentum spells “the best opportunity to be visible” on Capitol Hill.

The group launched in 2007 with the backing of Apollo Global Management, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Madison Dearborn Partners, Silver Lake Partners, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The founders deliberately limited membership initially to this circle of the very largest private equity firms.

That has changed in recent months as the trade group has sought to expand its ranks. The new members represent firms of different sizes and specialties.

The following firms have recently joined the group: Avista Capital Partners; Brockway Moran & Partners; Crestview Partners; Genstar Capital; Global Environment Fund; GTCR; Kelso & Company; KPS Capital Partners; Levine Leichtman Capital Partners; MidOcean Partners; New Mountain Capital; The Riverside Company; Sterling Partners; Sun Capital Partners; TA Associates; Thomas H. Lee Partners; Vector Capital; and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

Discussions with more firms continue.

“Our new members will help us better tell the story of how private equity investment delivers substantial economic benefits to companies of all types and sizes in virtually every state in this country.  And our new name better conveys what private equity is all about: growing companies,” said Lowenstein, in a statement.

As part of its new structure, the PEGCC is creating a growth capital committee to consider issues involving and affecting mid and small market firms.