Source: Los Angeles Times | April 16, 2010

Authorities probing pension-fund influence peddling on Thursday announced $17 million in settlements with targets of their investigations, including a high-profile California lobbyist and an investment firm founded by President Obama's former "auto czar."

The settlements reached by the Securities and Exchange Commission and New York state Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo mark the latest development in a yearlong scandal centering on intermediaries who collected commissions from investment firms for brokering deals that brought the firms chunks of pension-fund money to manage.

In New York, six people have pleaded guilty to corruption and bribery charges in the scandal. California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown is investigating possible similar abuse at the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System.

Meanwhile, New York-based Quadrangle Group agreed to pay $7 million to New York state and $5 million to the SEC to settle allegations that it paid a political consultant for help in obtaining investment-management business from a New York pension fund.

Quadrangle was founded by investment banker Steven Rattner, who left the firm early last year to advise the Obama administration on helping the auto industry recover. He spent just five months in that position, leaving after shepherding General Motors and Chrysler through bankruptcy.
Dominos fall in pension probe