Oaktree Fined $100,000 by SEC Over Conflicted Political Giving

(Bloomberg) -- Oaktree Capital Group LLC will pay a $100,000 fine for allegedly violating U.S. rules that bar money managers from making political contributions to officials who have sway over which hedge funds and private-equity firms get investments from state pension funds.

Three Oaktree employees donated money to candidates for elected office in California and Rhode Island between 2014 and 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a Tuesday order. The politicians were running for positions that had influence over public pension funds, the SEC said.

The SEC restricted political giving by executives at hedge funds and private-equity firms in 2010 following a spate of scandals in New York in which authorities accused funds of ostensibly paying kickbacks to win investments from the state retirement fund.

The SEC didn’t name the three Oaktree employees who made the contributions, which ranged from $500 to $1,400. The positions the candidates were running for included Los Angeles mayor, California state superintendent of public instruction and Rhode Island governor, the SEC said. Oaktree didn’t admit or deny the regulator’s allegations.

A spokeswoman for Oaktree didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and an email seeking comment.

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