Money Matters - Simplified

SEC rule squeezes campaign funding

Boston -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's rule change on pension funds could affect the run for the top job in Massachusetts and elsewhere, experts said.

Last week the SEC said investment firms that manage pension funds would be barred from managing any fund for two years if they contributed to a politician in charge of the same fund.

The Boston Globe reported Tuesday that Massachusetts Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who is chairman of the state's pension plans, received $2,350 in June from executives at Fidelity Investments, which manages $640 million of the state's pension fund.

Spokespersons for Fidelity and Cahill, an independent gubernatorial candidate, both said they would abide by new rules when they take effect.

Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger said, "It really is simply applying fundamental conflict and appearance-of-conflict laws to where money and power intersect."

"This ban eliminates a practice that was very prevalent," he said.

Gov. Deval Patrick also faces a change in his campaign finances. Patrick's re-election campaign raised $1,500 from investment industry executives in June. Two hundred dollars came from a Fidelity employee, the newspaper said.

"We'll certainly take a look at it (the new rule) and review the impact," said Alex Goldstein, a spokesman for the governor.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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