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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Richardson to withdraw as Commerce Secretary!

NBC is reporting that:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, tapped in December by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name for the position, citing a pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state.

“Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact,” he said Sunday in a report by NBC News. “But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.”

He said he plans to continue in his role as governor. “I appreciate the confidence President-elect Obama has shown in me, and value our friendship and working partnership. I told him that I am eager to serve in the future in any way he deems useful. And like all Americans, I pray for his success and the success of our beloved country.”

Have I missed something????  Or is this out-of-left field?


  1. HappyinVT

    from the LA Times

    New Mexico’s Gov. Bill Richardson, who is the newly named Secretary of Commerce in Obama’s about-to-be Cabinet, is also being investigated by a federal grand jury in his home state for possibly steering state bond business from the New Mexico Financial Authority toward David Rubin, a significant campaign contributor, according to an NBC News report, among others.

    NBC’s Lisa Myers reports that two former state officials say they’ve recently been questioned by a federal grand jury specifically about allegations that Richardson or aides pushed state business worth nearly $1.5 million in fees toward CDR Financial Products in 2004. The company is headquartered in Beverly Hills.

    This was about the same time as CDR’s founder, Rubin, donated $100,000 to two of Richardson’s political action committees; mainly it appears to cover expenses of the governor and his staff at the Democratic Party’s National Convention in Boston that summer.

    Rubin also donated another $29,000 to Richardson’s unsuccessful presidential campaign this year and last.

    The probe is part of a broad national federal exploration of “pay-to-play,” in which government officials reap financial or other benefits in return for state business.

    Richardson has ignored reporters’ questions on the federal investigation, while a spokesman says he’s confident the relationship was entirely appropriate and the governor expects state employees to cooperate fully with federal investigators. A CDR spokesman also said the transactions were appropriate.

  2. psychodrew

    I guess he’ll be pressing his face against the window a little longer.

    Richardson’s willingness to take an apparent political demotion is in keeping with his political character. He loves being a politician and was frequently seen out in Washington as governor. He clearly wants to be in the mix and part of the Obama team, even if it’s a second-tier slot.

    Source:  Politico

  3. fogiv

    Can’t say I’m totally surprised.  I’ve been pretty salty with Richardson since the ’04 New Mexico voting bullshit.  Since then, I’ve had a hard time seeing him as anything but an opportunist.  He’s one of those Dems I’ll support, but watch like a fucking hawk, you know?

  4. Strummerson

    This is a blow to the Latino community.  Latino organizations and leaders pressed hard for BR, as they see him as the most prominent Latino politician.  If he’s guilty and/or indited, they lose a national figure.  If he’s innocent, then he and they are victims of bad timing.  There are other Latino leaders in the mix on the national stage.  But none has Richardson’s stature at this point.  

  5. alyssa chaos

    who had exposed Richardson’s busines dealings a bit earlier…

    At the close of the Clinton administration, Richardson signed on as a senior managing director with Kissinger McLarty Associates, the advisory firm formed by Henry Kissinger and former Clinton chief of staff Mack McLarty, and promptly joined the boards of three large oil companies: Houston-based Diamond Offshore Drilling, a company once run by George Herbert Walker Bush; Denver-based Venoco; and Valero, North America’s largest independent refinery. Until recently, Richardson held Valero stock worth between $100,001 and $250,000 and options valued between $250,001 and $500,000, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission. He divested himself of his stake in Valero in May, saying his financial ties to the company had become a “distraction” to his presidential campaign.

    Though on the campaign trail he has come off as a staunch advocate of green energy, even proposing “a man-on-the-moon program” to address global warming and curb the nation’s dependence on oil, his close ties to the oil industry would seem no small contradiction. Currently, he is one of the leading recipients of campaign contributions from oil and gas companies among the presidential contenders.


    Beyond his coziness with the oil industry, Richardson was also caught up on the fringes of the Peregrine Systems scandal, a financial scam in the Enron style. Between February 2001 and June 2002 he served as on outside director on the board of Peregrine, a San Diego-based software company whose CEO, Stephen Gardner, was the brother-in-law of Richardson’s wife. During this period of time the company’s directors were engaged in various acts of financial impropriety, including masking the severity of Peregrine’s losses with phony accounting. The company eventually went bankrupt and Gardner was later charged with obstruction of justice and securities fraud.

    teh true question is why the Obama team chose to ignore all of Richardson’s business shenanigans. Was Richardson not completely truthful at the time of vetting or was the Obama team willing to overlook it…

    [never have liked Richardson, even before he ran for president. and especially dont think much of him after I got to see the deplorable state southern NM is in.]

  6. rfahey22

    that Richardson might be undone by some sort of sex scandal, not corruption.  But I guess it’s not surprising – as a former cabinet official and then governor, he’s had plenty of business contacts.

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