Richardson Reportedly Cleared in Pay-to-Play Probe

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 27, 2009 7:19 AM CDT
In this Jan. 5, 2009 file photo, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson speaks during a news conference in Santa Fe, NM, after withdrawing his nomination as Commerce Department secretary.   (Craig Fritz)
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(Newser) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former members of his administration will not face charges in a yearlong pay-to-play investigation, a source tells the AP. A federal grand jury has been probing whether lucrative work on state bond deals was improperly awarded to a Richardson donor—derailing his nomination as Commerce secretary in the Obama administration. Top Justice Department officials made the call, says an insider: "It's over. There's nothing. It was killed in Washington."

Federal investigators reviewed whether political contributions influenced the selection of California-based CDR Financial Products as an adviser on state transportation bond transactions, and whether Richardson's former chief of staff played a role in the hiring of CDR. The company's CEO and his firm contributed $110,000 to Richardson political committees in 2003-2005, with the largest donation made less than a week before winning a big contract.