Political Intelligence

SEC orders former Cahill aide, Goldman Sachs banker to pay $100,000 civil penalty

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered Neil M.M. Morrison, a former investment banker at Goldman, Sachs and ex-top state treasury aide to Timothy P. Cahill, to pay a $100,000 civil penalty, citing what the agency said was his role in a pay-to-play campaign fund-raising scheme for Cahill.

The agency’s order also bars Morrison from working in the securities industry for five years as part of the negotiated settlement that brings to an end a 2½-year investigation into his activities as campaign fund-raiser and chief adviser to Cahill’s campaign for governor in the 2010 election.

SEC regulations sharply restrict public-finance bankers from contributing to elected officials who issue public bonds.

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The settlement alleges that Morrison, who served as Cahill’s top treasury deputy before joining Goldman Sachs as a vice president in its Boston office in 2008, was “substantially engaged” in the treasurer’s political campaign at time when he was soliciting bond work from his office.

“Morrison’s campaign work gave him complete access to Cahill and his staff, who often provided him with information about the office’s internal deliberations involving underwriter selection,’’ the settlement agreement states.

At the same, the settlement says, Morrison was using Goldman Sachs resources, during office hours, to provide “valuable undisclosed ‘in-kind’ campaign contributions to Cahill attributable to Goldman Sachs.’’

It also accused Morrison of soliciting campaign contributions for Cahill when Goldman Sachs was “engaged in or seeking to engage in municipal underwriting business’’ with the treasurer’s office.

“I don’t know about it, you have to talk to Neil,’’ Cahill said when reached on his cellphone Thursday.

Morrison was not immediately available for comment.

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