A top Wall Street executive has asked his colleagues around the industry to agree to eliminate most political contributions, a move that would make permanent a temporary ban now in effect at many municipal bond firms.

Frank G. Zarb, vice chairman and group chief executive at Primerica Corp., the holding company for Smith Barney Shearson Inc., said in a letter dated Oct. 5 that "a central tenet" of the industry's position on campaign contributions should be "that no contribution may be given if it even gives the appearance of attempting to influence the selection of an underwriter."

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