The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a wide-ranging probe into the allegations that Prudential Securities Inc. routinely pressured its public finance employees to make political contributions as a wy of helping the firm win municipal bond business.

People familiar with the probe said the SEC's enforcement division has interviewed at lest five former employees of the firm regarding charges made in a 1990 lawsuit filed by Mark D. Schwartz, a former first vice president and treasure of the firm's tax-exempt division's political action committee. The sources said the SEC has asked questions relating to Schwartz's lawsuit, but not about Schwartz himself.

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