Bill Richardson has withdrawn as Barack Obama’s nominee for Commerce Secretary, in what appears to have been a surprise to most in Washington. The cause is a federal grand jury’s “pay to play” investigation that is looking into whether a company called CDR Financial Products received lucrative contracts from the State of New Mexico as a result of donations to Richardson’s campaign. Federal investigators are reportedly focusing on whether the Governor’s office had any involvement in the pertinent contracting decisions.
At this point, it is impossible to know whether the investigation is likely to tarnish Richardson or not. The cynical would surmise that the mere pendency of the investigation, which I take it has been ongoing for a while, would not have derailed Richardson’s nomination without some tangible concern that it may put Richardson personally in a bad light.
In the meantime, it is safe to say that the Democrats’ image as the “culture of corruption” party continues to grow.
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