Bill Richardson has withdraw his nomination to be commerce secretary in the face of a federal grand jury investigation into whether he exchanged government contracts for contributions to three Richardson political committees. At the heart of the controversy is a California firm CDR Financial Products that is accused of pushing through a contract with the state of New Mexico by giving to the Richardson campaign.
Richardson denies any wrongdoing and released a statement: “Let me say unequivocally that I and my administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact. But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.”
The allegations raise a question of what the firm means by tauting: “We are unique among boutique capital market groups, in that we take principal positions to facilitate transactions that might not otherwise close.”
One has to wonder if the Obama campaign took a close look at the investigation and prompted the move. Obama expressed “deep regret” at the decision. It is hard to believe that Richardson did not know of the investigation before his nomination, raising a question of flawed vetting or a failure to disclose. With the scandal in Illinois over Obama’s replacement, it could not come as better news for the GOP: the first Obama adviser to fall to scandal and he has not yet taken the oath of office.
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