Amid Probe, Richardson Drops Bid for Commerce

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 4, 2009 1:06 PM CST
In this file photo from Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama listens as Commerce Secretary designate New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, speaks during a news conference in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – Bill Richardson has withdrawn his nomination to be commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into a lucrative state contract awarded to a firm that backed the New Mexico governor's political activities. Barack Obama's transition office said today that Obama has accepted Richardson's withdrawal.

A person familiar with the proceedings has told the AP that the grand jury is looking into possible "pay-to-play" dealings between California-based CDR Financial Products and someone in a position to push the contract through with the state of New Mexico.