WASHINGTON - Merchant Capital LLC has agreed to pay $55,000 to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it violated muni bond rules by treating issuer officials, family members and friends to upscale restaurants and Broadway shows and then reimbursing itself with public money, including bond proceeds.

The sanctions, which the SEC announced late Thursday, stemmed from five trips to New York from June 2003 through May 2005 that the Montgomery, Ala.-based underwriter sponsored for officials from two issuers, as well as their friends and family members.

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