SEC Investigates Massachusetts Treasurer After Banker Helps Campaign

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed documents from the Massachusetts Treasurer’s office a month after Bloomberg News reported that a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker aided former Treasurer Tim Cahill’s failed run for governor.

“We are cooperating fully and promptly with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s request for documents consistent with our commitment to running a transparent and accountable Treasury,” Al Gordon, a treasury spokesman, said in an e-mail today. “Due to the nature of this matter, we cannot comment further.”

The Boston Globe reported today that the SEC is probing links between Cahill and Neil Morrison, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker in Boston who worked as an adviser to the treasurer’s gubernatorial campaign last year while he was still employed by the bank. The Globe cited an official briefed on the document request.

Gordon declined to comment on the report. Morrison didn’t immediately return a call to his home and an e-mail to his personal account. John Nester, an SEC spokesman, didn’t immediately return an e-mail and telephone call seeking comment.

Cahill, elected treasurer as a Democrat in 2002, ran for governor as an independent, losing to incumbent Deval Patrick, a Democrat.

Cahill was succeeded by Steven Grossman, a Democrat, who was sworn in Jan. 19. The SEC requested the documents two days later, according to a person familiar with the probe who is not authorized to comment on the matter.

Bailing Out

Bloomberg News reported last month that Goldman Sachs, the world’s most profitable investment bank, asked to be removed from two state underwriting teams after the disclosure that Morrison, who was based in the bank’s Boston office, was working on Cahill’s campaign. Regulatory filings show Morrison’s employment at Goldman Sachs ended in December.

Public-finance bankers are restricted from making political contributions to officials of state and local bond issuers, and there is a limit on volunteer help, according to industry regulations. If bankers break the so-called pay-to-play rules, a firm can be banned for two years from underwriting bond offerings that the public official oversees or would control by winning election.

Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, declined comment on the SEC probe.

Morrison, 36, joined Goldman Sachs in July 2008. A former City Council member in Taunton, a community of about 56,000 residents southwest of Boston, he was hired by Cahill in 2003. He rose to first deputy and chief of staff three years later, overseeing bond sales, the pension fund and the lottery, according to information on the treasurer’s website. He left for Wall Street in 2007, first joining UBS AG.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael McDonald in Boston at mmcdonald10@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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