Goldman to pay $12 million to settle “pay-to-play” probe

WASHINGTON, Thu Sep 27, 2012 – Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to pay about $12 million to settle charges that it violated “pay-to-play” rules in a case involving undisclosed campaign contributions to a former Massachusetts state treasurer who was a candidate for governor in the state, U.S. securities regulators said on Thursday.

A former vice president in Goldman’s Boston office, Neil Morrison, worked on the campaign of Timothy Cahill around the same time that he was also soliciting underwriting business from the Massachusetts treasurer’s office, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Goldman settled without admitting or denying the charges. The SEC also charged Morrison, and the case against him continues.

A Goldman spokesman, Michael DuVally, said in a statement the firm detected Morrison’s activities, fired him, and alerted and cooperated with regulators.

“We accept responsibility for the consequences of his unauthorized actions under the terms of the settlements announced today and are pleased to resolve these investigations,” DuVally said.

A lawyer for Morrison did not immediately respond to a request for comment.