VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - SEPTEMBER 06: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pauses during a campaign event September 6, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Trump participated in a discussion with retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Photo: Alex Wong
Photo: Alex Wong

Goldman Sachs prohibits top employees from donating to Trump

Goldman Sachs has banned its most high-profile employees from making a number of political contributions, including any donations to the presidential campaign of Republican Donald Trump.

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The new rules, first reported Tuesday by Politico, went into effect on Sept. 1 and forbid the banking firm's partners from donating to any federal candidate who is also a sitting state or local official, among other restrictions. That category would include Trump's campaign because his running mate, Mike Pence, is also governor of Indiana.

The rules were announced in a memo sent Aug. 29 by the company's global compliance department and obtained by Fortune. In the memo, the company specifically noted that donations to campaigns "such as the Trump/Pence ticket" are forbidden.

"The policy change is meant to prevent inadvertently violating pay-to-play rules, particularly the look-back provision, when partners transition into roles covered by these rules," the memo said. "The penalties for failing to comply with these rules can be severe and include fines and a ban on the firm from doing business with government clients in a particular jurisdiction for a period of at least two years."

The change was also aimed at minimizing "potential reputation damage caused by any false perception that the firm is attempting to circumvent pay-to-play rules," according to the memo.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman confirmed to CNN Money that contributions to the presidential campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton are still allowed. She is running alongside U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, whose position does not fall under the new prohibitions.

In the memo, officials specifically noted that contributions could no longer be made to the Virginia Democratic Party, which might have been a reference to Kaine.

It's unclear what impact the new rules will have on Trump's fundraising efforts. The policy affects roughly 450 employees who make up about 1 percent of the firm's 37,000 employees, according to CNN Money. However, the group does include the company's highest earners, including CEO Lloyd Blankfield.

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