A federal grand jury is looking into allegations that Bill Richardson violated campaign finance laws during his 2008 presidential run—most salaciously by having supporters pay off a woman who threatened to reveal an extramarital affair with the former New Mexico governor, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The sources add that several of Richardson’s closest associates have taken immunity deals to testify in the probe.
The sources say Richardson became romantically involved with a state employee in 2004, and that by 2007 she was considering suing him. So Richardson’s political allies allegedly gave her $250,000 to go away—which prosecutors argue is essentially an illegal, off-the-books campaign contribution, an argument that should be familiar to followers of the John Edwards saga. The grand jury is considering other allegations as well, including financial irregularities, and whether Richardson passed a controversial roads bill as a favor to a top donor. (Read more Bill Richardson stories.)