Recent debates in the US Congress over major policy issues, such as the US debt ceiling, the use of the filibuster in the Senate, and health care reform, have witnessed the emergence of small groups of legislators -- given names like “The Gang of Six” in popular press -- working to craft a bill that (they may expect) covers the middle-ground between opposing factions. Given the usual expectations that, 1) committee members are not preference outliers, and 2) committees have better policy expertise than the average chamber member, what purpose do these small groups serve? The argument here is that these gangs represent a focal point for accusations of ideological compromise and potential blame (if the product does not proceed to a floor vote). As partisanship in Congress has increased, the cost of compromise has increased, which may make the otherwise jurisdictionally-appropriate committee members less inclined to allow bills that would appeal to moderate voters to progress. Allowing other legislators to so visibly drive the work on moderate bills deflects the extremists from accusations of being “soft.” At the same time the heightened attention on the gang raises the reputational costs of failure. We should expect, then, to see gang membership to be comprised of more ideologically moderate members, who have served longer or who have won their seats by a wide margin (making them better able to absorb the reputational cost of failure). We review the (small) number of cases of emergent gangs to examine the model's comportment with observed behavior.