Richardson withdraws bid to be commerce secretary

WASHINGTON – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday announced that he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obamas commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract.

Richardson’s withdrawal was the first disruption of Obama’s Cabinet process and the second “pay-to-play” investigation that has touched Obama’s transition to the presidency. The president-elect has remained above the fray in both the case of arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the New Mexico case.

A federal grand jury is investigating how a California company that contributed to Richardson’s political activities won a New Mexico transportation contract worth more than $1 million. Richardson said in a statement issued by the Obama transition office that the investigation could take weeks or months but expressed confidence it will show he and his administration acted properly.

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One thing about the incoming administration… it is entertaining!

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