WASHINGTON -- Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. late yesterday asked 11 trade groups representing issuers, bond lawyers, dealers, and financial advisers to join the Wall Street firms that last week voluntarily agreed to a massive cutback of political contributions to issuers.

"On Oct. 18, seventeen of the nation's largest municipal securities underwriting firms agreed to discontinue the practice of making political contributions that attempt or appear to attempt to influence the selection of the firm as an underwriter," Levitt said in a one-page letter sent to the groups that included a copy of the two-page "statement of initiative" reached by firms.

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