Rattner Close to Settling with SEC

Wall Street financier Steve Rattner is close to making a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his role in a “pay to play” investigation related to New York’s state pension fund. Rattner, a big Democratic donor who handled the restructuring of the auto industry for the Obama administration, has been battling for more than a year the probe of state officials trading access to the $125 billion fund in exchange for political favors and kickbacks. In the SEC deal, Rattner would cough up about $6 million and be banned from the securities industry for two years. The ban would be a big blow to Rattner, who rose to second in command at Lazard Freres & Co. before leaving to found his own private equity firm, the one that was eventually caught up in the investigation. SEC commissioners will vote on the deal Thursday.