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Tag: Gov. Bill Richardson

Feds Inquiring About Gov. Richardson’s Ex-Chief of Staff

This has the makings of a full-fledged scandal with plenty political repercussions.

By Martin Z. Braun and William Selway
Bloomberg

Federal prosecutors are asking if New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s former chief of staff told a state agency to hire a bond adviser that donated $100,000 to Richardson’s political committees, people familiar with the matter said.
A witness who testified before a federal grand jury in Albuquerque last month said he was asked if David Contarino, the former chief of staff, ordered New Mexico Finance Authority officials to hire Beverly Hills, California-based CDR Financial Products Inc. Another person familiar with the investigation said Contarino, 47, is a subject of the inquiry and that prosecutors are looking at whether he solicited contributions from firms that worked on finance authority bond deals.
Contarino “is a very effective political professional,” said Edward Romero, a former U.S. ambassador to Spain and the national finance chairman for Richardson’s 2008 presidential campaign. “He’s a hard worker.” Romero said he would be surprised if Contarino did anything improper.
For Full Story

Breaking News: NBC Reports that Gov. Bill Richardson Withdrawing Name for Commerce Sec. Because of FBI Probe

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has withdrawn his nomination as Commerce secretary because of a pending FBI investigation into a major political contributor who landed lucrative state contracts , NBC reported Sunday afternoon.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported that Richardson concluded that the probe would delay his confirmation and he did not want to interfere with the administration’s plans.
The FBI in New Mexico is probing whether  political contributions from CDR Financial of California helped  the company land more than $1.4 million in state contracts.
“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, according to NBC. “But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.”
NBC also reported that he said: “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.”
The FBI declined comment Sunday afternoon.
Obama issued a statement in response.
“Governor Richardson is an outstanding public servant and would have brought to the job of Commerce Secretary and our economic team great insights accumulated through an extraordinary career in federal and state office. It is a measure of his willingness to put the nation first that he has removed himself as a candidate for the Cabinet to avoid any delay in filling this important economic post at this critical time. Although we must move quickly to fill the void left by Governor Richardson’s decision, I look forward to his future service to our country and in my administration.”