Pershing Square Pays $75,000 To Settle Pay-to-play Probe

Pershing Square Capital Management reached a $75,000 settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday regarding a campaign contribution made by a former employee that violated the government's donation rules. The former employee contributed $500 to a personal friend of a sibling, who tried, unsuccessfully, to enter one of the gubernatorial primaries in Massachusetts. The contribution, made over two years, was $350 over the maximum permitted by the SEC and has since been refunded. Pershing Square, an investment firm run by billionaire Bill Ackman, denied liability, but said it was settling because it was in the best interest of the firm and its stakeholders. The SEC, meanwhile, alleged the firm violated an investment adviser pay-to-play rule, in which a firm receives business and compensation from a public pension fund within two years after campaign contributions are made by a firm's associate.

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