News Column

Goldman Sachs Settles 'Pay-to-Play' with SEC

Sept. 28, 2012
Goldman Sachs

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Goldman Sachs and its former senior executive on Thursday on his campaign services in an attempt to influence the awarding of contracts.

Neil Morrison, Goldman Sachs' former vice president in Boston office, used his work time and the firm's phones and email from November 2008 to October 2010 for campaign activities of former Massachusetts Treasurer Timothy Cahill when he was a candidate for governor, the SEC alleged in a statement.

Under the SEC's "pay-to-play" rules, firms are disqualified from underwriting municipal bond sales within two years of making contributions, including "in-kind" non-cash contribution, to an official of the government issuing the bonds.

Nevertheless, Goldman Sachs subsequently took part in 30 prohibited underwritings with Massachusetts issuers and earned more than $7.5 million in underwriting fees, according to the SEC's order against Goldman Sachs.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Goldman Sachs consented to settle the charges by paying roughly $12 million, including disgorgement, interest and monetary penalty, said the SEC in the statement.

Goldman Sachs fired Morrison in December 2010, according to the order.

This enforcement marks the first SEC action for pay-to-play violations involving "in-kind" contributions to a political campaign, said the statement.

Source: Copyright Xinhua News Agency - CEIS 2012

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