Ex-Goldman Sachs Banker to Pay $100,000 in Pay-to-Play Case

A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) investment banker will pay $100,000 to resolve U.S. regulatory claims that he made improper contributions to a Massachusetts treasurer while seeking state underwriting business.

Neil Morrison, who worked on then-Treasurer Tim Cahill’s unsuccessful run for governor from November 2008 to October 2010 while he was employed by Goldman Sachs, also agreed to be barred from the securities industry for five years, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement today.

“These tough sanctions against Morrison show that we take abuses of the pay-to-play rules in the municipal securities industry very seriously and will hold individuals accountable for their violations,” Elaine Greenberg, head of the SEC enforcement division’s municipal securities unit, said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs in September agreed to pay about $14 million to resolve the SEC’s claims. Morrison, who was fired by Goldman Sachs in December 2010, and the New York-based bank settled without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

“We certainly agree with Ms. Greenberg of the SEC that these sanctions are tough,” said Tom Kiley, Morrison’s attorney. “The fact that this is the first time there has been an industry bar for a violation of the pay-to-play rule is a pretty good indication the law wasn’t clear at the time of the conduct.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Joshua Gallu in Washington at jgallu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maura Reynolds at mreynolds34@bloomberg.net

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