New York State United Teachers settled with the attorney general's office Tuesday, in a probe into how it accepted $3 million in shelf-space payments each year from ING Group to endorse its annuities without disclosing the arrangement to its members. The investigation found that the union even, in fact, took steps to conceal the pact, according New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's lawsuit.

The union would urge its members to attend financial planning seminars, claiming that "there's no sales pitch -- they [the seminars] do not promote specific products or services." But contrary to this claim, the union, in conjunction with ING, used the seminars to promote ING retirement products, including annuities with annual fees of as much as 2.85% a year -- three times as much as some equity mutual funds.

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